One of my most enjoyable experiences working on the US Ski & Snowboard Team branding assignment was strumming up a friendship with the ridiculously likable (and three-time Olympic Skier) Steve Nyman.
Steve, 35, had recently qualified for his 4th Olympics when, no less than 10 days before the opening ceremonies, he tragically crashed and suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during downhill training. For those of you who weren’t following his journey, it was even more of a blow because Steve had just finished working himself back from a torn ACL, MCL and PCL – that he suffered 364 days before (at the, er, exact same track).
I had a chance to fire off a few questions to Steve. I wanted to learn how he was holding up, what he thinks of the new US Ski & Snowboard branding and which one of our Sock Problems socks he would most want to rock. He answers these questions below.
1. First off, how are you holding up? I know you must be a bit gutted. To make the Olympic team for the 4th time but not be able to go and compete, walk me through that? The most brutal part is this happening after last years recovery. I fought so hard to get back and put my heart and soul into the comeback and then this happens is rough. Hopefully I can get back to that spot and shoot for the top again. Having my girls around helps a lot. Thank you Charlotte and Nell.
2. What does your rehab look like? Is it off to a good start? Rehab is super simple right now. I am already walking which is nice but I have to be patient before I can start gaining strength. This go around should be a lot easier than last time.
3. What I love most about you, Steve, is you take your work seriously — but not your self too seriously. That said, being such a competitor, I’m sure you’re already locked in on future goals. Can you share? This setback is a …setback. I want to shoot for World Champs next year which are in Sweden. I know I can ski well there and will do all in my power to get there.
4. Let’s talk about the new US Ski & Snowboard logo. I know you’re a fan — but why does it work for you? I really enjoy the new logo. I kept pushing for something simple and timeless and this achieved it. It is clean, inclusive and has meaning.
5. The goal of creating one new mark was to “unite” all 7 teams inside the US Ski & Snowboard team. When you talk to the other athletes/Olympians, do they like the mark? It seems like all the teams have embraced the mark! And I like the power of unity it brings. I feel connected with my teammates and feel more connected when they succeed.
6. When we took the stage in Colorado to talk about the branding process, you had made a comment that you felt the logo could be a “competitive advantage”. What did you mean by that? The logo brings that unity which means all the teams can feed off of each other. When success starts rolling people feed off that and when you are connected you feel that power.
7. Have a favorite piece of US Ski & Snowboard schwag that includes the new logo? I love the simple New Era baseball caps.
8. As you know, I started my new cause-centered sock company called Sock Problems. Is there a problem we’re “socking” that’s near and dear to you heart? Climate change is a big problem in today’s world. This is something we need to act on now! I do work with POW (Protect Our Winters) and hope to help get people into action to create change.
9. When are you coming out for a little R&R visit in San Diego? I had to sneak this question in. Hopefully soon! I have a surfboard down there I need to reunite with!
Thanks Steve. When you get back to the states, I’ll make sure to send Charlotte, Nell and you our “Sock Climate Change” sock. Grateful for your time and, as I speak for all of us, have a clean and fast rehab!
Though it’s not the same, as Steve will tell you, he did make it to Pyeongchang. Tune in to see his expert commentary of the skiing events on ESPN and Good Morning America.
Ryan Berman is the founder of Sock Problems: an altruistic sock company that “socks” problems in the world and the founder of Courageous: a consultancy that develops Courage Brands™. Berman has crafted meaningful stories for household brands including Caesars Entertainment, Major League Baseball, PUMA, Subway, US Ski & Snowboard and UNICEF. Berman believes that courage is any business, being or brands ultimate competitive advantage. Many people want to be courageous; they just don’t know how. Learn more at www.ryanberman.com