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The Outside Prognosticator: On Your Mark…Get Set…Strike A Pose

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Outside magazine, January 1996

The Outside Prognosticator: On Your Mark…Get Set…Strike A Pose


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.

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