Olympics 2010: The Gear That's Winning

Which companies stand to gain the biggest marketing boost from these Winter Games?
Olympic Medalist Bode Miller

Can Head sell more skis because of Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller? The answer is yes…in Europe, at least. Americans—unless they’re avid racers—are typically unswayed by who skis what on the World Cup. Europeans, by contrast, are keenly aware. But the Olympics are different, and even in America, it can’t hurt Head to have all those Head skis and boots on the podium.

When a top racer switches gear sponsors, as Vonn did, going from Rossignol to Head last year, it’s big news—and often big money, with six-figure endorsement contracts for the superstars. “Victory schedules”—performance bonuses tied to results—can push the payoffs even higher. A good Olympics can cost your brand a fortune.

Manufacturers take big risks betting on who they think will perform and what they’re worth. So, which companies stand to gain the biggest marketing boost from these Winter Games? Atomic came on strong in the men's slalom, with an all-Atomic podium that brought their total to six. But Head, with Vonn and Miller raking in the medals, remains on top, with eleven.  Rossi and Stoeckli have five medals each. Here’s a look at the Olympic podium results by manufacturer. 


Course injector

Olympics 2010: Slippery Slope

If you listen closely to the commentators at an alpine World Cup race, you'll likely hear talk about course injection, a process during which water is injected into the snow in order to make a harder surface. While the practice is often discussed, the injectors themselves are seldom seen. Here's an up-close look at what they are and how they work.

Vancouver Bound

Olympics 2010: Ski Cross

The freeskiers who invented it don’t have to like it, but skiercross—make that ‘ski cross’—is now an official, FIS-controlled Olympic event, and former World Cup racers like Daron Rahlves are among the favorites. Burning questions remain, like how baggy should your clothes be, what exactly are the rules, and who’ll win the first gold medal.

Lindsey Vonn Racing

Olympics 2010: Is Vonn a Heavyweight?

Lindsey Vonn says an article that claimed she has a size advantage over smaller racers helped motivate her to win three consecutive races last weekend. “If all it took to be good at ski racing was weight then we all would be stuffing our faces," she said during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

Olympic Poll

Olympics 2010: Winners Poll and Voting

We know, you think Lindsey Vonn’s a good bet to win the women’s downhill at Whistler Blackcomb. And, of course, we agree. But what about the other alpine events? Take a stab at picking the winners, and log back in periodically until the Olympics to see if other readers agree.