As I melodically sang “Did you ever know that you’re my hero/ You’re everything I wish I could be/ If I could fly higher than an eagle/You are the wind beneath my ski,” I gazed into Andy Mapple’s intense blue eyes and dreamed of the possibilities. Away from our loved ones this past February, we swerved head-to-head in beautiful San Bernardo, Chile, the first stop of the Nautique Big Dawg World Tour presented by O’Brien. The occasion marked the second time in my life that I’ve serenaded the greatest slalom skier of all time. It felt good. For a moment, that is.
Flash back five months earlier, to the 2012 Big Dawg Finale in West Palm Beach, Florida, where my Jedi mind song had worked wonders. However brief, in our incredibly exciting history of competing against each other, I was in Andy’s head, much like Wade Cox during those short-lived but memorable seasons more than 16 years ago. “I’ve got you, Andy, right where I want you.” Self-talk moments like this right before competition can awaken your inner giant. The assertive voice in my head was exceptionally reassuring. I even had visions of my one-on-one sessions with Tony Robbins.
I digress. Shortly after I defeated the 14-time Masters champ, 11-time world-record holder, three-time World Cup cyborg, 14-time Moomba Masters gold digger, and seven time world-title winner, I towered over him from atop the podium. And then, it happened. In Mapple’s second-place acceptance speech, he announced to the bewildered crowd of fans and thousands of skiers worldwide tuning in to the live webcast, that I had spanked him. “OMG,” the voice in my head said, making itself known once again. “The King of Slalom just said that you spanked him. Yes, spanked him.” Spank you very much, Andy!
The smile that suddenly covered my face probably resembled that of a rambunctious mannequin about to make his Vegas debut. Welcome to one of the top five moments of my life.
Now back to Chile (me encanta este pais ), on the starting dock with Mapple. After I belted several verses from Bette Midler’s platinum song, he spanked me back with a score of 2 at 41 of . My ego was moderately deflated, but as you probably know, well intact. The 50-year-old legend rose above me to the top rung of the podium. I shook his dry, callused hand, and in one fluid motion, I delivered one of my top-three bodybuilding poses of all time: the side chest flex. Bam! Spanked, but not overshadowed on the podium. Till next time, Mapple. Till next time.