Must Ski TV: Truth in Motion documents journey to Vancouver on NBC Saturday night

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on January 26, 2010 11:58 am

History’s script is still in the editing process.  Lives and legacies will be cemented to the past when the final draft is handed in on February 13.  That’s the date of the first alpine skiing event, the men’s downhill.

For the following two weeks the bright lights of the Olympic stage will blind.  Grandma Betty from Norman, Oklahoma will learn the name of Lindsey Vonn (pictured left);  and Teg Ligety, Sarah Schleper, Julia Mancuso, and gasp, Bode Miller.

The foundation of winter’s success is really summer’s story.  Truth in Motion: The U.S. Ski Team’s Road to Vancouver is a fascinating, inspiring, and fully entertaining look at what it takes to compete at the highest level.  From the U.S. Ski Team’s summer ski camps in Portillo, Chile and Saas Fee, Switzerland, right up to the final moments before the first World Cup of the season — the film captures an intimate look at the massive dedication that fuels the endless search for the perfect turn.  All of it filled with the hope of the ultimate ending in Vancouver.

Commissioned by Audi and directed by Academy Award nominated documentarian Brett Morgen, the film airs on NBC Saturday at 8pm.  Two ski poles way up for this one.

This is not corporate schilling, and I say with all sincerity, Audi is rad.  Ruling cars and a sponsorship of the U.S. Ski Team dating back 25 years.  These guys get ski racing.  Scott Keogh, Chief Marketing Officer of Audi says of ski racing, “I think the sport is all about competition, speed, technology, drama.  All the things that Audi stands for.”

There’s drama at Audi?  Do tell!

Keogh is exactly right, though.  That’s exactly what makes ski racing so compelling and fun to follow.  Competition, speed, technology, drama — not often a sport can be summed up in just four words.

The technology revolution in ski racing is happening at a lunar pace.  Its piece of the Importance Pie has become too big to finish in one seating.  If you can say piezoelectric ceramic fibers, you know what they are and what they do.  Skis once had one ingredient, wood.  Now everything is in play. 

The shift in the shape of skis has directly led to insane speeds and jet-plane g-forces.  The core value of the ski turn has been turned upside down.  Turning was invented in part to slow a skier down.  Now, racers generate speed from the turn.  A human sling shot.

The man documenting the competition, speed, technology, and drama is Academy-nominated director Brett Morgen.  Morgen is a Peabody award winning documentarian, and you’ll be happy you Netflixed his The Kid Stays in the Picture and On the Ropes.  With Truth in Motion, Morgen focuses on three very dynamic personalities: Sarah Schleper, Ted Ligety, and Jake Zamansky.

In 1924 at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, women were allowed to compete only in figure skating.  Hooray for 2010, where we get to witness the awesome story of Sarah Schleper (pictured right).  Already a three-time Olympian, Schleper took off the entire 2008 season to welcome her son Lasse into the world.  What it takes to regain the elite shape required to ski race can not be minimized.  It is a dedication that demands respect.  And mom just did it.

Schleper’s been a big surprise this year on the World Cup with an 8th and a 5th in two World Cup slaloms.  With Schlper’s skiing, on race day anything can happen.  It would be an incredible Mrs. Cinderella story.

Ted Ligety’s giant slalom turn is a modern marvel.  His nickname would not be Ted Shred if it weren’t.  The Park City man is a World Cup giant slalom title holder and history maker.  Ligety (pictured left) became only the fourth American to win gold in alpine ski racing with a combined victory in Torino at, wait for it… 21-years-old!  How about that to go with your first (legal) beer?  Now 25, Ligety is still young in the world of ski racing, and his turn is the perfect visual snapshot of modern, technical ski racing.

Jake Zamansky is the soul.  In the ’08-’09 season, Zamansky was left off the U.S. Ski Team.  But, as the NorAm champ in GS, Zamansky was eligible to compete in every World Cup giant slalom.  Zamansky was at a crossroads.  With much soul searching, a deeper dedication, and time consuming fund raising, Zamansky had his best year on the World Cup.  Now back on the U.S. Ski Team, he’s finished in the points three of his last five World Cup races.

With a true understanding of ski racing and a longstanding financial commitment to the sport, Audi has once again given a huge present to ski racing fans and Grandma Betty.

Get psyched, warm up the microwave for the bag of popcorn, and get in line for the best seat on the couch.  Truth in Motion is happening Saturday at 8pm on NBC.  If temporary alien abduction takes place, there will be an encore airing on USA Network on February 6.

Zeke Piestrup ( More Posts)

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