Sometimes what’s on your head can be just as important as what’s in it.
Sure, it takes years of training and experience to become an Olympic athlete in skeleton. But when an athlete is sliding down that track a ridiculous speeds, their helmet isn’t just helping protect them from disastrous injury, it’s also sending some kind of message out into the world about the person wearing it.
What are Canada’s skeleton athletes saying with their choice of helmet design at PyeongChang 2018? Here’s a look:
The 24-year-old from Sherwood Park, Alberta screams down the skeleton course sporting a distinctive piece of Haida art; in this case, a beaver. In the lead-up to PyeongChang, his helmet was also emblazoned with the words “mom and dad”.
The elder statesman of the team, Greszczyszyn was (perhaps understandably) nicknamed “the Grizz” back in high school. So of course his helmet features a fearsome grizzly bear… with the words “True North, strong and free” on the back for good measure.
The ursine trend continues with Martineau, whose helmet is adorned with a not-very-friendly-looking polar bear. We can only imagine what would happen if Martineau’s helmet got into a fight with Greszczyszyn’s.
Not only did Jon Montgomery’s famous run at Vancouver 2010 inspire Channell to pursue the sport, the motto of those Games (“With Glowing Hearts”) would go on to inspire her own helmet design. Yes, that’s a human sternum, and yes, that’s a glowing maple leaf where the heart would be.
Rahneva was hit hard by the death of her mother Valentina from cancer last summer. But the first-time Olympian turned tragedy into inspiration, commissioning a helmet design that paid tribute to the woman who’d given her so much.
Vathje asked her helmet designer to come up with the most Canadian design possible. Given the amount of plaid and number of maple leaves, we’d say it was a success.