Doug Lewis will have a bird’s eye view of the men’s Alpine Olympic downhill tomorrow morning, (weather permitting.) The two-time U.S. Olympian, who made his first top ten placing on the Dave Murray Downhill in Whistler at the World Cup in 1984, will be calling the event for the Olympic Broadcasting Service alongside Chris Davenport and JP Daigneault.
I talked to Lewis yesterday for his insights about the course and where the downhill race will be won or lost.
I also asked him who he favoured to win. Lewis played the caveat saying that at this level, anything can happen. “The higher you go in the levels of ski racing, the more the mental side plays a role,” he told me for ths NBCOlympics.com post. “I’d say there are ten men who could win gold on Monday, they all ski well enough, but it’s the mental aspect that makes a difference – who can handle the delays, the pressure, who’s willing to risk more with their choice of line.”
Lewis likes Switzerland’s Didier Cuche, Austria’s Mario Scheiber and Canada’s Robbie Dixon for the podium.
“Cuche is just on fire,” he said. “He’s mentally strong, technically best at carving at high speeds and he’s got great equipment.”
Lewis sees a skier from alpine racing’s powerhouse nation, Austria, on the podium for sure, but tips Scheiber instead of favourite Michael Walchhofer for the spot. “I think Walchhofer has too much pressure. He’s carrying all the weight of his country’s expectations, so Scheiber could come in under the radar.”
Finally, Lewis likes Whistler’s Robbie Dixon to make the home-crowd go wild. “I think he’s on fire. He’s made for this course. He’s all about flow, which this course is. And he’s under the radar, while all the media focus is on Manny.”
Wonder what the Vegas bookies will make of that.
And for a little insight into what Doug Lewis is made of, check out his pov commentary of Salt Lake City’s downhill Olympic course.