Outside magazine, January 1996
Ever notice how many outdoor athletes are spiking their hair, piercing their noses, getting mad, getting whimsical, or otherwise trademarking a "unique" attitude? Below, a sampler of gimmicks that work, circa 1996. Because there must be something to be gained by all this.
Athlete: Missy "The Missile" Giove--perennial mountain-bike world champ and fashion plate.
Gimmick A somewhat shopworn Patti-Smith-meets-the-Human-Pincushion look that includes six piercings, three tattoos, and a dead piranha around her neck.
Great!...Why? "The piranha is a warrior symbol. It reminds me to be aggressive."
Athlete: Shawn Farmer and Morgan LaFonté--snowboarding's feuding royal couple.
Gimmick: Farmer, star of several snowboarding flicks and screamer for two Rollins Band-like rock groups, and LaFonté, a retro fashion queen, tantalize fans by driving each other to the brink with dueling backflips off 50-foot cliffs.
Great!...Why? Currently working through a breakup, like Kurt and Courtney before them, they say they've simply been pushing each other to "new limits."
Athlete: Liz Grenard--up-and-coming professional sport climber, ranked fifth in the nation last year.
Gimmick: Still honing her shtick, which involved in-your-face animal-rights activism symbolized by her official coif and duds: long blond dreadlocks and a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals T-shirt.
Great!...Why? "My number one goal is to impact the environment a little less than the average human being."
Athlete: Simon Woodstock--arguably the world's top skateboarder.
Gimmick: Dresses as a clown during skateboarding demos/inspirational speech combos for youth audiences.
Great!...Why? "I'm just a child at heart who wants to make his mom proud. I can really communicate to kids when I do a switch-dance inward hard flip while wearing clown shoes.