What a great weekend, and what a great season for our local boy Jesse Melamed. Born and raised in Whistler, a more “Whistler” kid would be hard to find. I won’t go on a rant about my continuing disappointment at our mainstream media that can’t find a way to lift its head from its own money navel-gazing of NBA, NHL etc., to mention or celebrate such an accomplishment as a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP! I saw the lack of coverage during the golden days of Alison Sydor and Roland Green competing as the XC World Champions at home at Grouse, and we couldn’t even get the Vancouver Sun or Province to attend the press conference! Stevie Smith as DH champ was similarly ignored by our mainstream press.
Wonderfully, there is a new generation of local Canadians killing it in MTB currently with the likes of Jackson Goldstone, Finn Iles, and Gracey Hemstreet. Potential future world champions all. And many more in XC, EWS, etc. But I am sure Canadian media will be nothing but consistent, and will barely mention their successes.
But here in our MTB community, we have historically celebrated our heroes in biking and skiing admirably. However, I would suggest that Jesse’s win is something really special for our Whistler community. Jesse was born and raised here. He grew up riding every trail in Whistler from the time he was barely able to walk, never mind ride. He was surrounded and no doubt inspired by talented athletes, and amazing riders, whom he had to chase. Many of the trails he rode have been maintained by his dad, Ken, and his family over the years. He has competed at a World Cup level for several years, all the while finishing his engineering degree at UBC! Who does that?
He had to excel at more than 45 races this year, each one potentially ending his year of competition with a major fall or major mechanical. His body shows the signs of the intense risk and wear and tear that this sport inflicts on its competitors. He had to overcome a massive fall in the second-to-last race that destroyed his helmet and parts of his body like his hands. He has worked for the last many years to get the skills, the experience, and the mental toughness to beat the very best. Then he had to pull all that together, riding beat up and hurt, in the last race of the year to take it. What a great way to win like a true champ.
Given the success of our native son, I would suggest we find a way to acknowledge this effort. Name a street after Jesse, or how about a bridge?? Gee... maybe, just maybe, Vail Resorts could find a way to honour the result with some reference on the mountain?
I cannot think of a more deserving young man, at the height of his powers. Congrats Jesse, you earned it.