ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Snowboarding may be one of the newer sports at the Winter Olympics but Canada’s Crispin Lipscomb will be relying on the ancient wisdom of Buddhism to assist him in the halfpipe competition in Sochi.
The 34-year-old, who is making his final Olympic appearance, told Reuters that the extreme sport and the ancient religion have an awful lot in common.
“About five or six years ago I started travelling to Korea and I was introduced to some monks who run a thousand-year-old temple,” he said.
“In all the reading that I did and learning about that approach and some of the fundamental ideas that the Buddha was playing with, I found great parallels to our snowboarding.
“Ways to deal with fear, ways to deal with the physical challenges, and to stay in the moment. I remember being told about this stuff by sports psychologists and trainers, but it’s only making more sense now.”
Lipscomb returned to snowboard six months ago after a four-year sabbatical and is impressed by the progress made in the sport, especially its impact on the Olympics.
And, like many extreme athletes, he gives the impression that winning isn’t everything and that a great performance is almost as good as a medal.
“It’s just a chance to bring that kind of style-oriented sport, like slopestyle,” said the former two-time World Cup winner.
“It’s got such a history in skateboarding, and skateboarding does not have this Olympic thing, so it’s a nice bridge between these two worlds of the Olympiad and street-level, youthful fun.”
Asked what the Buddha would say about the recent Canadian ribbing of American halfpipe rival Shaun White, Lipscomb was cryptic before getting to the point.
“I think that from what I know, the Buddha would remind everyone that you’ve got to chop wood before enlightenment and carry water after enlightenment.
“I think that that means no matter who you are and what your process is, you have to do your work.
“You can have your joy and your reward, but immediately following it you have to go right to work and right back to your life.”
He then played down the mind games, which started when White pulled out of the slopestyle event citing safety concerns.
“I don’t feel I need to play with Shaun’s psychology, or let him into my head either. This is still the same contest, you compete with the same guys every week, this is just fewer of us so we can stay more focused.”
A competitor at the Turin Olympics in 2006 when he finished 11th, Lipscomb is well aware that this is his last Games, but he doesn’t plan to go quietly.
“This is the last time I’ll compete at this level, and I’ve found that there’s no way you can replace what is required at this level.
“I look forward to delivering my very best, better than I’ve ever done before on my last runs here.”
Lipscomb praised the Canadian preparations before promising one final Olympic show.
“The team has put us in a great position to do that physically and mentally and in our comfort zone, so my expectations are to go faster and higher than I’ve ever gone in my life, so that I’m proud for the rest of time.”
Editing by Mitch Phillips