Downhill skiing can be terrifying to watch. Racers are going blazingly fast down slippery slopes, their bodies (and safety) resting on just two thin pieces of plastic. So if a skier loses one of those skis mid-race, it might make sense to stop and not continue down a giant snowy hill on one lonely ski. Right?
Not for a Polish skier named Pawel Babicki. On Thursday he was racing on the Stelvio downhill in Bormio, Italy, and lost his left ski before he had even hit the halfway point. But did he stop? Absolutely not. He kept going and actually finished the race on one ski!
That’s incredible. When Babicki loses his ski, you don’t see even a split second of panic in his body language. He just completes the curve and keeps right on skiing until the finish line.
Babicki’s one-legged race might remind you of a similar feat from over a decade ago: Bode Miller’s one-ski triumph on the same hill in 2005. And when Babicki spoke to the Associated Press about it on Friday, he said he actually had Miller’s one-ski race in mind as it was happening to him.
“It was a spontaneous decision,” he said. “When I lost the ski I was like, ‘Come on, I’ve seen Bode Miller’s run so many times. I’m going to do everything I can to reach the finish,’”
Here’s a look at Miller’s single-ski race if you want to compare.
In fact, Babicki watched both races side-by-side and was amazed that he was only 100 meters behind Miller. Babicki told the AP that he hopes Miller finds out about their shared accomplishment.
“I hope somehow I will come in touch with him,” said Babicki, who was born in Dayton, Ohio, and lived in the United States until he was six. “I would love to meet him or maybe that he will give me some tips or advice.”
Babicki finished last in the race, but he still hopes he can qualify for the Olympics. It might be against the spirit of the Olympics, but don’t you think Babicki should be automatically qualified simply because he finished a downhill race on one ski? It’s just too amazing to ignore.
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