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"I only hope Michael Schumacher pulls through..."
December 31, 2013 9:58 AM   Subscribe

"...so that he can see all of the nice things people are saying about him." Like this. Michael Schumacher, arguably one of the greatest auto racers ever, is fighting for his life after a freak ski accident on Sunday in Grenoble.

The outlook for the Formula One champion was originally quite grim, but he has seen some improvement after a second surgery but remains fragile. The 44-year-old retired driver won seven world championships (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) and boasts numerous records over his long career, which, akin to the great American Michael (Jordan), was broken into two parts following a return from retirement in 2010 at age 41 before his final retirement in 2012. Here are 91 wins in one photo. Here is his career in multiple photos.

The injury was at low speed at a relatively safe spot suffered by Schumacher (or Schumi or Schuey, as he is known in racing circles) is startlingly similar to the fatal head trauma suffered in 2009 by famous actress Natasha Richardson, former wife of Liam Neeson. (Previously)

His brother was also an F1 driver with less spectacular results.

Michael is one of the highest paid athletes in history. He is also an inspiration to an up-and-coming F1 racer you may know of, too.

For all of F1's supposed danger, the remarkable thing about the sport is that no driver has died or suffered a career ending injury as a result of a race event since Ayrton Senna in 1994 (this does not include Maria de Villota. De Villota was a test driver and an excellent female driver who died this year after suffering a terrible freak head injury while testing an F1 car in the off season). The award-winning Senna documentary shows how bad Formula One really was up until the mid-90's. (Previously)

Skiing, meanwhile, is more dangerous than modern Formula One. A long list of celebrities have also died while skiing.

For some samples of his incredible skill behind the wheel of an F1 car, look here:
Winning in Germany in 1998

Earning Rainmaster nickname

Qualifying and controlling the car during qualifying at Suzuka in 2001

Monaco '96 qualifying with ridiculous time in segment 3

Monaco qualifying 2012 as a 43 year old

Schuey in a fiery pit stop

Pole at Imola in 2006

Other Metafilter Michael posts:
Previously 1

Previously 2

Previously 3
posted by glaucon (65 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very similar to how Natasha Richardson died a few years ago... I hope Mr. Schumacher gets better.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:04 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't worry The Stig can regenerate 13 times.
posted by humanfont at 10:10 AM on December 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


A pretty benign slope and spot. Bopping your head on rocks at speed is no joke. Get well soon Schmui!
posted by lalochezia at 10:10 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay now that I see the rock garden that it looks like he skied through I understand. I had heard that he was wearing a helmet but he hit a rock - those are big rocks, much bigger than NBCs very silly graphic recreation that they showed this morning. I'm not going to even bother searching for a link to it because it was so bad.
posted by Big_B at 10:10 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been following this on the various racing forums. Hoping for the best.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:15 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Very worried for him and his family. As someone who grew up surrounded by racers, and who follows F1, this has been all around me since it happened. I can only imagine how terrible this is for his family and friends.

It is remarkable, yet very sad, how many racers I can think of who died in ways unassociated with their cars, yet far too soon. I hope we can avoid adding his name to this list.
posted by strixus at 10:21 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of those ultra-focused athletes who have the strength of will to turn the whole team around them into a relentless winning machine... and then, despite his manic competitiveness, he turns out to be a nice guy as well, treating people with respect. Get well soon.
posted by colie at 10:21 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I watched his first F1 race and his last ... and most of the ones in between. And even with his crash in the 1999 British Grand Prix, one word that never crossed my mind was vulnerable.

Here's hoping for the best.
posted by philip-random at 10:21 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


People are constantly are surprised I've never been skiing- I lived in the South until a few years ago, so I never had the chance- and I don't think I'll ever try. Sometimes I think about it, and then I remember how freaking dangerous it is and I lose all interest.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:22 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


At the end of 2013, I look back over a year in which I've had friends and the family of friends pass, most from illness and one in a horrendous auto crash. In that context, this has really hit me. I don't want his family to go through this - I don't want him to go through this. I want him to be ok. They need him to be ok. It seems trite to say he's in my thoughts and prayers - but it's true.
posted by The World Famous at 10:23 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The DC comments are great. They say something really nice about MS and reflect even better on DC. Full recovery Shumacher!
posted by Keith Talent at 10:25 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also been following this. My facebook is getting drowned in this a bit at present, too.
posted by Brockles at 10:35 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Great post! Well done. My brother and father are F1 freaks, and as such I've been aware of F1 all my life. Only saw one race, Nigel Mansell winning in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1992 I believe. Senna was there, as was Schumacher.

Loved the DC comments. True class. Especially liked the bit about trading helmets. Sure hoping this turns out well. Been checking every few hours for updates.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:36 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The DC comments are great. They say something really nice about MS and reflect even better on DC. Full recovery Shumacher!

Totally agree. I grew up watching these guys race every second weekend and it's amazing how close I feel to essentially complete strangers.

Why is it you all wait until a Formula 1 driver skis into a boulder before you say the nice things about him?

DC touches on it when he says he could never admit that he wasn't on Schumi's level when he was still racing but he can now. It's not that long since he retired the first time round and I think it's only recently that he's been comfortable being slightly more himself with the English speaking media and public. Being successful at the same time as private and reserved means that many people never took to him. People who have spent time with him always seem to describe him as kind, generous and humble.
posted by neilb449 at 10:51 AM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Natasha Richardson scared me the most.

I got yelled at by an instructor when I fell down (not something I could control) and hit my head. It really upset her and we weren't required to wear helmets.

Skiing is dangerous.
posted by discopolo at 10:54 AM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


People are constantly are surprised I've never been skiing- I lived in the South until a few years ago, so I never had the chance- and I don't think I'll ever try. Sometimes I think about it, and then I remember how freaking dangerous it is and I lose all interest.

You have to consider how many tens of millions of people go skiing/snowboarding every winter (far more than drive F1 cars). Injury rates are around 2 to 3 per 1000 skier-days, but most of those are minor injuries. We're all going to die someday, but in the meantime our lives can be enriched by going our and having some fun every once in a while.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 11:01 AM on December 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


For a moment, I breathed a sigh of relief for myself because I used to snowboard 100+ days a year and simply have not had time or money to do it for a very long time. So I thought "well, I guess I'm safer now." But then I remembered that I ride a road bike on the street a couple times a week now, often at night, which is probably among the most ridiculously dangerous things I could pick to do. Oh well.
posted by The World Famous at 11:14 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


People are constantly are surprised I've never been skiing...

Same here.
Never been. Never been interested in it.
For one, I detest the cold and the snow. And sliding down a mountain with a couple of boards clipped to my feet never sounded like the smartest idea.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:25 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I took a mad spill at speed on skis a decade ago and slapped the back of my head pretty good...went straight to the ski shop and bought a helmet and have worn one ever since. Have worn a bicycle helmet ever since a friend died of trauma suffered from a fall at slow speed when he struck the back of his head on a curb.
Still we can't eliminate all risk in life.
MS is an example of a life lived to the fullest, dangers and all. He suffered a pretty serious back injury a few years ago on a motorcycle and pulled through.
I wish him a full and speedy recovery.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:27 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Skiing is dangerous.

as are very many things.

I skied a lot (40-60 times a year) for about ten years (11-21). Living very near a few ski hills, it was easy to do. At first I may have been cautious but by the time I was thirteen, no way. All manner of dangerous chances were taken involving speed, altitude, trees, rocks, skiing out of bounds, you name it. And all manner of big falls ensued. And by the time I was sixteen, alcohol was entering the mix. And marijuana, though that just tended to slow me down, get me appreciating the scenery etc.

Yet short of a few bruises -- no serious injuries.

Was I just lucky? Maybe. Except the same holds true for most of my friends. And none of us were wearing helmets or any other kind of safety gear.

So yeah, skiing is dangerous, I guess. But I'm pretty sure more people die taking showers.
posted by philip-random at 11:32 AM on December 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Injury rates are around 2 to 3 per 1000 skier-days, but most of those are minor injuries. We're all going to die someday, but in the meantime our lives can be enriched by going our and having some fun every once in a while.

I bet the injury rates for beginners are pretty damn high. I fractured a thumb my first time out because my idiot 'friends' took me up a real hill and didn't tell me not to loop the pole straps. In under 5 minutes I lost most use of my left hand for about 2 months. And that was back when 501 button fly jeans were cool. NOT FUN.
posted by srboisvert at 11:34 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, my lifetime injury rate for snowboarding was about 2 per 7 slope-days, at which point I quit with a broken arm.
posted by smackfu at 11:35 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The CNN report about him said that a reporter dressed up as a priest in order to try to sneak into his hospital room. Grrr...
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:36 AM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, CP, but I also read that Olivier Panis was coincidentally in Grenoble and went to the hospital to lend support.

I desperately want Schumi to pull through, despite the fact that I was a DC supporter and held a grudge against Schumacher for years.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:11 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Schumacher is underappreciated, for sure; but is he really the type who cares what people say about him?
posted by lodurr at 12:14 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure more people die taking showers.

Uh, no. I mean, that's just silly: the only way it's true is if you look at it in absolute terms, which neglects the fact that a lot more people shower than go skiing. In that case, sleeping is probably the most dangerous thing you can do. Look at how many people die in their sleep! Positively hazardous.

Not that I fault anyone from skiing. It looks like a hell of a lot of fun. I'm not coordinated enough to do it (and I'm far too duck-footed for anything that requires keeping your feet parallel), but whatever does it for everyone. I'll stick to road bikes and motorcycles, myself, which have to be in the same danger zone per user-hour, at least in rough orders of magnitude.

It does seem like a sport where the safety equipment hasn't kept pace with other dangerous sports, though. If you look at safety equipment of other high-risk activities and compare 50 years ago to today, most of them have improved dramatically. Ski clothing seems to have improved, and there are the avalanche beacons, but helmets don't seem to have caught on very much (or at least they didn't seem common the last time I was at a ski resort, a few years ago in Utah). I'm not sure what the reluctance is, but if people can tolerate wearing a bicycle helmet while exerting themselves in the heat it certainly seems reasonable to wear one when going equally fast, down a hill, in a situation where you're probably wearing a hat and goggles anyway. Just a bit odd.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:15 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


in a situation where you're probably wearing a hat and goggles anyway.

Exactly. My helmet's more comfortable than an itchy hat. I have to say though, that helmets are far more common now than when I learned to ski in the 80s.

The spot where Schumacher fell is deceptively dangerous. Also, they keep saying "off-piste," but I don't see any boundary markers.
posted by aturoff at 12:22 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm thinking what's more ironic? Sonny Bono who lived a safe life on stage killing himself on a ski slope, or a man who did one of the most dangerous sports you can do, possibly doing the same thing.

Skiing isn't dangerous, but you can make it so and that's part of the charm. It's the most fun you can have standing up.
posted by three blind mice at 12:26 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


A DC supporter?!?
posted by ambient2 at 12:36 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


A DC supporter?!?

Celebrating mediocrity everywhere! I thought the only DC supporter was Mrs C (senior).
posted by Brockles at 12:47 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh come on. It's impressive enough that a giant carrot learned to talk, much less that it learned to drive an F1 car without immediately spinning out of control, flying into the stands, and killing hundreds.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:58 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


As an EMT, I don't see much similarity between the Schumacher and Richardson accidents. Both were on skis, both suffered brain/cranial injuries, but the immediate aftermath/presentation was very different. Richardson was examined by ski patrol and, showing no signs of injury, went back to her hotel room. Schumacher had a severely altered level of consciousness -- unable to respond to questions, agitated, limbs moving involuntarily. All of those things indicate a critical situation that requires immediate transport to a specialist trauma facility.

I hope Schumi pulls through. That said, the road ahead of him will be tougher than anything Monza or the Nurburgring could throw at him.
posted by grounded at 1:17 PM on December 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


A DC supporter?!?

Well, a McLaren supporter, and DC was Mika Häkkinen's teammate at McLaren. Anyway, point being I would always root against Schumi. Not today though.
posted by ob1quixote at 1:41 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Schumacher vs Brundle, from last year. (Spot the old rivalries!)

Schumacher was my favorite driver, first because he returned to the sport right when I started watching it again and was looking for someone to cheer for, and secondly because he was close to my age and I was starting to feel the effects of ageism in my career. He held his own against drivers barely more than half his age. Still rooting for you, Schumi.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:56 PM on December 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was never a big Schumi fan -- it always especially annoyed me to see him pull his patented bullshit moves like stopping in the Rascasse when he could have played it straight and, well, honorably, and still clinched his championships early.

But very much hoping he gets out of this alive and still himself. I can't think what this must be like for his wife and children, who saw their husband/daddy get into an F1 car week after week, occasionally getting injured, to "escape" into retirement... only to get back into the car for a second career, coming out unscathed. And now this. Ugh.

And beyond that, it's not like death is ever right, or that accidental death is ever in any way okay. But for Schumacher to, God forbid, die in a skiing accident? Fuck that. That has the same wrongness that Gagarin being killed in a training flight had.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:10 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why is it you all wait until a Formula 1 driver skis into a boulder before you say the nice things about him?

because it's a sport, which is to say, theater of a kind. We sometimes don't recognize the various players as human until something truly severe happens.

I actually was a Schumacher fan at first, when he was the new kid, an underdog. But once he started winning everything, sometimes by any means possible, let's just say the bloom was off.

note: both of those links are situations where Schumacher would win the championship if neither car finished the race. The first paid off. The second didn't.
posted by philip-random at 3:10 PM on December 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


It does seem like a sport where the safety equipment hasn't kept pace with other dangerous sports, though. If you look at safety equipment of other high-risk activities and compare 50 years ago to today, most of them have improved dramatically. Ski clothing seems to have improved, and there are the avalanche beacons, but helmets don't seem to have caught on very much

This isn't true at all, ski releases are way better and avalanche gear is great now. Huge safety increases. The simple fact is that a helmet can only do so much unless its a motorcycle style helmet and people are not going to wear those recreational skiing, or biking or horseback riding or what have you. Light weight helmets provide some protection but a lot less than people think especially if they are dropped or old or used in multiple falls or they slide around on impact. If you fall hard enough from high enough they are going to be overwhelmed. I've seen helmets get pulverized before.

Nothing to do with Schumacher's accident which sounds terribly unlucky more than anything but if you're participating in a sport that requires a helmet definitely do yourself a favor and learn how to fall. Ask a skater or a martial artist to teach you how to keep your head from bouncing on the ground via rolling. If you're too afraid to learn to fall... um, be careful?
posted by fshgrl at 3:28 PM on December 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why people always take these accidents as an opportunity to pontificate about helmet use. Seriously, every time there is a skiing or cycling accident, *everyone* asks "Well, was he wearing a helmet?"

We don't make these automatic assumptions/judgments about any other kind of accident, and it's always seemed really shitty to me that our automatic action is to wag our fingers and say 'tsk tsk'. Even allusions in _every_ single news story to the "recklessness" of F1 driving and his past career seem pretty terrible to make at this juncture. The guy suffered from a freak accident that almost certainly has nothing to do with his past life or career. Why can't we just leave it at that?

The science behind helmet safety is surprisingly sparse, and the few studies that have been done are outdated and seriously sketchy. One could blame this terrible science as a reason why helmet technology has remained virtually unchanged in several decades, or why helmet manufacturers do not need to do anything to prove the efficacy of their products. In particular, helmets serve as excellent vehicles for turning fatal head injuries into fatal neck injuries, and we've done very little research about how to improve this rather serious flaw.

Even in spite of this scientific consensus, people love to argue about helmet safety as a tacit fact. In reality, it's nowhere near the slam-dunk that, say quitting smoking or wearing a seat-belt is.

[If we're going to talk about bikes specifically, countries with high percentages of bicycle commuters have near-zero levels of helmet usage, but no corresponding increase in the rate of head injuries -- if you're biking around town at low speeds, you're only marginally more likely to suffer a head injury than a pedestrian. You should probably wear a helmet, but biking around the block without one isn't exactly suicidal.]

I always wear a helmet when I ski, almost always when I ride my bike, and pretty frequently when I rock climb outdoors. Even in spite of all of this, I'm not going to pontificate toward other responsible adults who have weighed the risks and decided to opt out of this particular safety device.

If Michael Schumacher doesn't survive, it could even be seen as an indictment against helmet use, as the helmet only served to turn an instantly- fatal injury into a slow and painful death.
posted by schmod at 4:13 PM on December 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Thoughtcrime: "You have to consider how many tens of millions of people go skiing/snowboarding every winter (far more than drive F1 cars). Injury rates are around 2 to 3 per 1000 skier-days, but most of those are minor injuries. We're all going to die someday, but in the meantime our lives can be enriched by going our and having some fun every once in a while."

The modest resort in my town on a good day will see 5000 skiers or 10-15 injuries at the quoted rate. I can tell you from experience working there that they'll see an injury serious enough for an ambulance to be called on a busy day at least half a dozen times (seriously; a round trip is 90-100 minutes and there is essentially more than a crew doing nothing else but servicing the hill) and a helicopter life flight about once a month. And that doesn't count the people injured or killed driving to or from the hill (usually at least one fatal accident every year).

schmod: " In particular, helmets serve as excellent vehicles for turning fatal head injuries into fatal neck injuries, and we've done very little research about how to improve this rather serious flaw."

Something like a HANS device would stop your head from flopping around and injuring your neck; ain't nobody going to wear something like that skiing though.
posted by Mitheral at 6:27 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fairly tiny correction to the FP: Schumacher's skiing accident happened at the Méribel resort. He was transported by helicopter to Moûtiers, then when the severity of his condition was established, to Grenoble.
posted by surrendering monkey at 8:14 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cycling is not skiing. The safety benefits of helmets are well established in skiing. It has also been observed that helmet use does not correspond to an increase in neck injuries.
posted by humanfont at 9:04 PM on December 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Despite his antics on the race course (including the questionable moves mentioned above), it seems that he was a genuinely nice person off the course - personable and modest (as far as that is possible for someone with his achievements). Somewhat famous for breaking into tears at some of the crucial moments in his career. Also, no scandals and married to the same woman for 20+ years.

All the best to you, Schumi!
posted by sour cream at 2:09 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Sometimes I think about it, and then I remember how freaking dangerous it is and I lose all interest.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:22 PM on December 31


Life is dangerous. Walking out of the house is dangerous. Driving a car is incredibly dangerous. Look at the figures for serious skiing injuries during, say, an entire year and set them against the total number or person-hours skied that year. People are too fond of over-emphasising the importance of isolated incidents and forgetting just how many people ski without getting badly hurt or killed. They do the same thing with many other behaviours that carry risk. They forget to consider proportion and probability, and in doing so they lose perspective and, ironically, add another risk to their lives: the risk of not having as much fun and excitement as they might. This is an isolated, unfortunate incident that occurred because someone got unlucky on a bit of off-piste with what sounds like dodgy snow. On that same day literally millions of people had a great, thrilling, life-affirming experience on the mountains and then had a wild time with the après.

Get well soon, Michael. Hope the snow improves before I hit the French Alps at the end of the month.
posted by Decani at 3:09 AM on January 1 [4 favorites]


They forget to consider proportion and probability, and in doing so they lose perspective and, ironically, add another risk to their lives: the risk of not having as much fun and excitement as they might.

Every winter (or "winter") Santa Monica builds an outdoor ice skating rink. The whole complex takes up about 1/4 square block, and includes a separate, small kiddie rink that's probably 20'x20'. A few weeks ago I walked by and for the first time I noticed a few of the kids, including two in the kiddie rink, were wearing a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. Now I know that L.A. isn't the winter sports capitol of the world, and for most people ice skating is just a novelty, but for some reason it made me profoundly sad.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:02 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Dr. Gary Hartstein, successor to the great Dr. Sid Watkins, has been writing up a storm on Twitter and his blog on Schumacher's injury. Well worth a read if you're not already following his updates.
posted by evoque at 7:31 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


...people always take these accidents as an opportunity to pontificate about helmet use.
Such as in today's New York Times: Ski Helmet Use Isn't Reducing Brain Injuries
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:52 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Friday is Michael's birthday, by the way. Fingers crossed for a good prognosis by then.
posted by ceribus peribus at 8:55 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


He was never my favorite driver (that's Senna), but you could never deny his dominance of the sport. As both he and I got older, my respect for him grew and I felt he got a rough deal being pushed out of Ferrari to make way for Alonso. Although his return to the sport wasn't as successful, I'd be hard pushed to think of any other driver who could take 4 years off and compete at that level.

I do about 20-30 days a year, have worn a helmet and a back protector, not because I'm stupid and go fast but because they are cheap insurance compared to the alternative. Good point about replacing old helmets, I realised at the end of last season that my helmet was 6 years old and likely not up to scratch, so replaced it this year.

I hope Michael makes a speedy and full recovery.
posted by arcticseal at 9:27 AM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Room 641-A: "I noticed a few of the kids, including two in the kiddie rink, were wearing a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads."

Helmets is pretty well the norm up here for younger skaters.
posted by Mitheral at 10:28 AM on January 1


The NY Time article notes that helmets have reduced skull fractures and lacerations by 30-50%. They have not had a demonstrable effect on concussions and traumatic brain injury. The article also notes that skier and snowboarder behavior has shifted to more dangerous terrain. The peice doesn't really advocate against helmets in any way.
posted by humanfont at 1:14 PM on January 1


We don't make these automatic assumptions/judgments about any other kind of accident

Oh, sure we do. Every time somebody gets into a serious car accident, the first question people tend to ask is either: (1) were they drunk? (which is really "did they bring it on themselves via their own stupidity and probably deserve what they got?") or (2) were they wearing a seat belt?

And with motorcycle injuries, "were they wearing [insert piece of safety gear]" is an absolutely common response. You can look on any discussion board if you want, and it's not just helmets. If you go to threads where people talk about losing toes / feet / legs in bad highside falls, someone will almost always jump in and inquire whether the victim was wearing proper protective boots or if they were just squidding around in flipflops, again with the unstated "welp, they brought it on themselves" implication in the latter case.

Increasingly I've seen the same sort of questions start to be asked about spine protectors. At least among younger sportbike riders I think they're becoming quite common.

There comes a point in most sports when a safety device is accepted as common, and a failure to use it begins to be regarded as an unnecessary risk on the part of the user. In general, I think people who partake of high-risk sports tend to be more tolerant than the general public of not using certain safety devices, because they understand the tradeoffs that are involved, so if you're getting the hairy eyeball from other participants it's a good sign that you're really doing something sketchy.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:34 PM on January 1 [1 favorite]


Such as in today's New York Times: Ski Helmet Use Isn't Reducing Brain Injuries

Were they ever supposed to? The brain is still going to move around during a head impact. Helmets are to protect skulls are they not?

I felt he got a rough deal being pushed out of Ferrari to make way for Alonso

Surely you mean Kimi? Alonso didn't go to Ferrari until 3 years after Michael left.
posted by juiceCake at 7:30 PM on January 1


You're right, I do mean Kimi.
posted by arcticseal at 8:12 PM on January 1


arguably one of the greatest auto racers ever

That's absurdly weak praise for the only seven-time F1 world champion. He is one of the greatest auto racers ever. There's no argument about it.
posted by pracowity at 3:21 AM on January 2 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can't see there being an 'arguably' about Schumacher's skill at all unless people are trying to say 'better than Fangio/Moss/Senna' when they didn't compete in the same eras in the same equipment.
posted by Brockles at 8:26 AM on January 2 [2 favorites]


the first question people tend to ask is either: (1) were they drunk? (which is really "did they bring it on themselves via their own stupidity and probably deserve what they got?") or (2) were they wearing a seat belt?

Yep, I always look for the second in articles about fatal car crashes, and a large proportion are not wearing them.
posted by smackfu at 10:29 AM on January 2


"Ferrari faithful to hold rally outside French hospital for Schumacher", Chris Estrada, Motorsports Talk, 02 Jan 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 11:21 AM on January 2


Which is to say, God bless The Tifosi.
posted by ob1quixote at 11:27 AM on January 2


Happy birthday, Michael! I wish you a speedy recovery and many more birthdays to come.
posted by arcticseal at 6:40 AM on January 3


There's no argument about it.

If you peruse F1 based forums apparently there is. I imagine this is true across the board of sports forum but very often those who excel are seemingly despised. According to many, Sebastian Vettel really isn't that good. Michael Schumacher really didn't ever win a championship, really, you know, etc. It's both sad and hilarious.
posted by juiceCake at 7:16 AM on January 3


Well, I suppose so, but I really meant no logical argument. There is no way to construct a logical argument that Michael Schumacher is not one of the greatest auto racers ever. Only an insane person would believe that you could win more world racing championships than anyone else and yet not be one of the world's best racers.
posted by pracowity at 9:08 AM on January 3


People seem to have an urge with regard to sporting contests to construct a storyline where there is a hero and there is a heel, and to insist that the heel is not actually good at the sport. Schumacher became, for some people, a heel. He's one of the greatest drivers ever, but they see him as a heel, and that construct gets in the way of reality. It's the same impulse that looks at Senna and Prost and decides that Prost sucked. Now, Prost is one of the greatest drivers in the history of F1, as well, and that much should be beyond dispute, regardless of further argument about who might have been incrementally better than him. But he's seen as a villain by many, because that's the storyline they've decided on, and there you have it.
posted by The World Famous at 9:40 AM on January 3


I don't use the "i" word much because it tends to offend. But anyone who honestly believes that Michael Schumacher isn't one of the three or five greatest drivers of purpose built F-1 automobiles EVER is an idiot. By which I mean, if they're honestly going to try to argue that, then I don't want to hear anything more that they might have to say, because why listen to an idiot? Life's too short.
posted by philip-random at 11:16 AM on January 3 [3 favorites]


Yes it's baffling. Jacques Villeneuve never really won the championship (F1 or CART or indeed the Indy 500) because of whatever reasons. Prost only really actually won one championship because A and then C if you consider Y. I remember reading Lewis Hamilton wouldn't last 5 years in the sport because he basically sucked.

I've also read recently that only next season will be able to see how good Sebastien Vettel (the current world champion, having one 4 in a row) actually is, as if all the evidence before next season isn't valid or "real" or something.

I understand why people dislike Micheal's lack of sporting ethics (though for some reason Senna get's a pass, as does Alonso even though he was part of the Ferrari information to McLaren debacle) but it doesn't reduce how good they actually are at the sport. Sure, they didn't have to do some of the things they did but most of their victories were not a result of either taking others out or taking information from another team and using it in secret.

Prost is very hard done by on the armchair. Cast as the most political of drivers when Senna was just as political. Anything to bring them down I suppose. Senna of course regarded Prost as one of the best ever and measured himself against him.

I dread any coming documentaries on Prost or Schumacher if they 're as piss poor as the Senna documentary, which had very little do with the sport that he made his name in and more to do with how he was apparently some naive idiot preyed upon by evil doers.

What I don't understand is why anyone who believes that any sport is full of champions who aren't really any good would watch the sport in the first place.
posted by juiceCake at 12:47 PM on January 5 [2 favorites]




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