Friday, 13 September 2013

Chemmy Alcott - not your typical Olympic athlete

Rob Thomas, Columbus the dog and Chemmy Alcott
I had the pleasure earlier in the week to week to spend a bit of time with British Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott. 

+Columbus Direct has teamed up with Chemmy to support her through (and hopefully beyond) the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Chemmy is widely regarded as the UK’s most successful alpine athlete, she's been the number one British woman skier for a record eight years, and is the highest ranked female British skier ever. She finished 11th at both the 2006 Turin and 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games and has her heart set on a medal in Sochi in February 2014. 

With all that in mind, it was surprising to hear that Chemmy receives no funding form any sporting body and relies almost entirely on her sponsors and supporters.

A few months back, during the early stages of the discussions with Chemmy and her team, I must be honest and say we were slightly sceptical of what value a "sponsorship" deal would bring us, assuming that it would likely mean signing a cheque and then hoping to occasionally see our logo on her racing kit. But as we spent time with Chemmy getting to know her better we were thrilled to find out that she saw this as a real partnership and that she would have to put some work into it too.

I'm not sure if Chemmy is unique in this regard but I get the feeling that her approach isn't typical. She even sees a future for herself advising fellow athletes about how to get the most out of their sponsors by really embracing a working relationship with them.

So for us at Columbus, the journey with Chemmy is just beginning. We are so looking forward to working with her to create great content for our customers, including tips and advice, videos, blogs and maybe even the chance to spend a day skiing with her (after she's recovered from her broken leg).

I have to say that I've rarely come across someone with such a positive attitude as Chemmy - even in the face of her latest injury set-back - and if Winston Churchill was right when he said "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference," then who knows, maybe we will be celebrating an Olympic medal with Chemmy in a few months’ time.

You can follow Chemmy on Twitter: @ChemmySki