My readers have let me know that this is not a priority issue for them, but I can't help caring about diversity in winter sports. (In case you can't tell from the new picture I've got up on the site.) I caught some bits of the Winter X Games on ESPN over the weekend and noticed that although ESPN has people of color covering the event, I didn't see any in the competition. Then I got an e-mail from Roberto Moreno, the snowsports industry diversity consultant whose job I totally envy. Roberto is in Aspen for the Winter X Games (hence the envy), and he reports that there are several pro snowboarders of color competing there this week.
Of that group, the one whose story I like the best is Marc Frank Montoya, who is "arguably the first Mexican-American pro rider":
Marc, born June 13, 1976, grew up on the tough streets of north Denver, amid Chicano gangs and a real thug's life. He got into his fair share of trouble, but eventually made a decision to apply his energy first to skateboarding, then to snowboarding, to steer clear of trouble. "If I wasn't doing this, I'd be in jail," he simply says. "Most everybody ends up in a gang. Either go in a gang or start skating, or something else, but even doing that you end up being half and half. I was half skater half Blood. Before high school we all skated, but as soon as high school hit all my homies end up being either Bloods or NSM (North Side Mafia), then slowly they stop skating... You've just got to be smart enough to know the difference."
It must be tough being one of the few skiers or snowboarders of color, always under the microscope, with people waiting for you to break out to superstardom and helping promote the sport. The best way to help that, of course, is for the sponsors to have more than just one person of color per team.