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SKIING-Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch

Updated on February 4, 2011
Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch able to compete as equals and remain best friends.     Photo:
Lindsey Vonn and Maria Riesch able to compete as equals and remain best friends. Photo:

Competitors and Best Friends

If you follow women’s alpine skiing, you are familiar with the top two downhill champions American, Lindsey Vonn and Germany’s, Maria Riesch. Both women are fierce competitors and true champions in their own right. However what captures my attention even more than their skiing skills and abilities is the fact that they are also best friends. They have managed to maintain their friendship even though they have the same ambitions and athletic talents.

Photo courtesy  Lindsey Vonn carving down the ski course.
Photo courtesy Lindsey Vonn carving down the ski course.

Imagine being best friends with your closest rival? They are both dependent on their skiing winnings for their financial security. With your job at stake, it would be easy to view your competition as your enemy, someone you must develop a hatred for in order to keep your edge and hunger to win. How can you compete against someone you deeply love and admire? Many say it can’t be done. Yet here they are two female athletes, none the less, proving such claims false.

I don’t know which of the two women are more complete, because I think they are both evenly matched as far as temperament and self image are concerned.

Physically, they are very beautiful, very tall, and very strong.

Emotionally they both seem to appreciate the strengths of one another and do not compete for attention or prominence. Considering Vonn is #1 in the world rankings, Riesch seems to take it in stride, determined to do her best to beat Vonn without hating her or carrying the competition off the ski course.

Vonn has stated that she wants to win every race, but that if she has to lose she would want Riesch to win in her place. I think there is something special about their relationship defined by the fact they both do their best and then leave room in their lives for more important things such as loving friendships. No doubt it is the key to their successful friendship.

Race Day Attitude

When it is time to race, do they avoid each other, build a temporary hatred toward one another so that they can compete more successfully? Just the opposite occurs.

They openly discuss their competitive goals, and during a race they go so far as to advice each other about the fastest way down the hill. Listening to sportscasters commenting on their relationship reveals how foreign it is to the psychology of the professional athlete to stay loyal to a friend during an important race. The winning at all costs attitude shared by many pros is not the attitude Vonn and Riesch embrace. The fact that they buck traditional sports psychology and still win has garnered much attention, needless to say.

Lindsey Vonn With Husband Thomas.
Lindsey Vonn With Husband Thomas.

While Vonn is married, apparently Riesch is single, yet this causes no strain in their relationship either. Since Vonn’s husband is also her trainer and coach, she no doubt has been able to learn much about partnerships and friendships from both her marriage to Vonn and her friendship with Riesch.

2010 Olympic Accomplishments

Both Vonn and Riesch were successful in their Olympic endeavors at Vancouver.

Amazingly, Riesch achieved the following:

"Maria Riesch achieved a historic momentum at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The 25 year old managed to be the first female skier to race in the top 10 in all five Olympic disciplines. Maria won a Double Gold in Super combined slalom as well as next to being eighth in the downhill and Super-G and giant slalom in the tenth. Congratulations!" Quoted from Riesch's Official Website.

As for Lindsey Vonn

She received a gold medal in the Women's Downhill race and a bronze in the Super-G

Maria Riesch shows her skill and percision, second only to Lindsey. Photo:
Maria Riesch shows her skill and percision, second only to Lindsey. Photo:

Could You Do It?

So looking deep inside could you be friends with someone you considered your equal or even more skilled than yourself? Would you be able to compete head to head with someone and still remain friends? Do you currently have friends who possess qualities you wish to have? Do they possess material comforts that leave you feeling envious or jealous? How do you handle such feelings.

We chose whether to allow negative emotions and feelings to thrive in our hearts and minds. If we feel bad about ourselves it is much easier to be envious of someone elses' life or peace. If we feel we have never measured up, it is hard to not carry that negativity into our existing relationships.

On the other hand, if we learn to appreciate the value of maintaining and developing friendships free of competitive and jealousy, we give ourselves the opportunity to gain true companionship based on appreciation and love.

Isn't daily life hard enough in and of itself, without the burden of petty jealousy and envy?

See For Yourself, Is It Real or Not?

It is easy to suggest to others that they develop relationships as strong and sincere as the one that exists between Vonn and Riesch, quite another to live by it myself.

I can recommend doing so however, because it is my friendship philosophy as well. I love it when I find talented and successful friends. They inspire me to be a better person and I learn so much from their areas of excellence.

It hurts me deeply when I discover my friends are unable to feel good enough about themselves to be happy for whatever success I enjoy. If I do not see evidence of change, I gradually pull away realizing a deep and lasting friendship is not possible under such a negative environment.

Women have the reputation of being caddy, sometimes it is deserved, but I have weeded out such women, opting instead to have caring, loyal and non-competitive women as my closest friends.

I think you have to be the kind of friend you wish to have. Looking over my list of closest friends hopefully reveals that I have succeeded in my endeavor. I think my best friends are true blue friends who only want the best for me and are happy when I succeed. I think my friends add to my enjoyment of life and I consider them all to be blessings in my life.


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    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      They are both very impressive as skiers and best friends, I totally agree Dolores. I enjoyed watching them both attain their Olympic dreams as well.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Jen, I really enjoyed the story of these 2 friends as I enjoyed watching them ski during the Olympics. A very healthy relationship. You've got to admire these gals!

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 8 years ago from Delaware

      Hi Sue! Hope you are still doing well. Thanks for your opinion about their relationship and my personal take on it. The pleasure is mine, btw! (-; I'm glad you liked the hub.

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 8 years ago from South Carolina

      Dar, I LOVE this hub!!! What a challenge indeed and what an inspiration to see not only that it can be accomplished, but that when it is there is no diminshing of one or the other. Instead much to peoples amazement an enhancement!

      As a whole I agree with your hub, easier said than done and not considered the "norm". Being that person does attract the same in kind. I know that this is what I practice in my life, none above nor none below. What a pleasure to have you as a friend in my life!!! Much Love, Sue