At age 48, Clyde Getty would be 20 years older than a lot of the men in the aerials competition at the Olympics. Or, from a different perspective, he would be the most experienced skier visualizing a triple flip off the jump in Vancouver.
That’s if he gets to go to Vancouver.
The games start this weekend, and Getty, of Boulder, keeps hearing “no.” But the long-time aerialist hasn’t given up yet — it’s not his style to stop.
“Some are like, just let it be,” he said. “But I can’t. I just can’t.”
Getty went to every one of the Fédération Internationale de Ski freestyle-skiing world cup events this winter in an attempt to score enough points and rank high enough to compete in the aerials at the 2010 Olympics.
He earned his rankings two weeks too late, but he said the rules are fuzzy.
“I’m on a waiting list, and I’m waiting,” Getty said. “I understand that I’m No. 9. I don’t know if that’s men and women, or freestyle, or aerials, or what.”
Getty doesn’t have a team manager or anyone else to track down these details from the International Olympic Committee, wrangle with fuzzy rules or help with visa issues when he’s traveling. Though he skied for the U.S. years ago, in the ’80s, he now competes solo for the country his parents are from and of which he is a citizen now: Argentina.
“It’s kind of like rent-a-coach for me, because I’m on my own,” he said. “Really, I coach myself here at the North Boulder Rec Center doing the bungee thing. That’s a big part of my training.”
The “bungee thing” is how he practices acrobatic maneuvers indoors. During the summer, he goes to Park City, Utah, every weekend to train. And if there’s enough snow in Boulder, he walks to a jump in the open space beyond his backyard and skis home.
If the wait list whittles down or he finds another way in and he goes, this would be his third Olympics.
“My goal is to land my two triples in competition well, simple as that,” he said. “That would be a gold medal for me.”
Inspired by the world cup events in Breckenridge in 1985, Getty started competing in aerials in 1986, at age 25. Being an older competitor (Getty: “For the ’94 nationals, which I won, I was 33. That’s like way outta the age curve!”) is a double-edged sword, he said.
“I certainly have experience — I land on my feet most of the time,” he said. “I see a lot of younger guys, they crash a lot. And they don’t always come back.”
Getty said his wife, Shelly, “puts up with me but supports me as well.”
“She’s the better half, I would say, except for jumping.”