Author – Garrett Hill

To my own surprise, I’ve been inspired by a dinner roll. Not the Betty Crocker variety. And not that clever little scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Gold Rush. I’m talking about Jonny Moseley’s contribution to changing the sport of mogul skiing forever.

Jonny, who happens to live in the Bay Area not too far from X2nSat’s headquarters, intentionally lost medal points in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City by doing a frowned-upon maneuver called a dinner roll to make a statement. He should’ve won, but the old-school judges awarded him 4th place.

In a 2002 New York Times article, Jonny said before the famous, controversial jump, “I’m not going to cater to what they may want to judge with their button-down standards. It’s a cool trick. It’s me.”

But I wouldn’t call what he did a self-sacrifice – although he intentionally gave up the Gold “just” to make a statement. And you know what? The world awarded him superstar status. So what IS a dinner roll? You can watch the moment he broke the mold here, and check out the visceral excitement from the crowd that day (hey, I wish I’d get a marriage proposal just for skiing down a hill!). The crowd KNEW he was making history and they just ate it up.

Do you remember who actually won the Gold that year? Me either. But I do see Olympic freestylers doing some version of a dinner roll on almost every jump. And I see Jonny providing commentary for freestyle events in the Olympics and hosting TV shows such as The Real World and The Amazing Race. Back in 2002, Jonny didn’t win in the short term, but he – and the sport of mogul skiing – won in the long term.

I can’t take the credit for keeping Jonny on my radar, though. Recently, I attended a Vistage executive summit in San Francisco, and one of the more powerful speakers was Brian Beaulieu, the CEO of ITR Economics. He provided insight into the economic trends shaping San Francisco, the United States and the world … and he also showcased Jonny as an example of the importance of “going big and going early.” That was my take on it, anyway.

And – not to push-market too much here – that’s what we’re doing here at X2nSat with our new business continuity health-care solutions. It’s an obvious connection for me to make. In partnership with our clients, we’re anticipating their need for 24/7 secure and reliable connectivity for critical patient information and data applications. Our solutions for that sector are truly evolving in tandem with the fast-paced health-care industry.

Being reminded of Jonny’s accomplishments brought home to me something I always know intuitively – that true visionaries only internalize about 20% of the past and the other 80% is a conscious decision to take risks. It matters to think differently. What Jonny did that was so unusual is that he ANTICIPATED what people wanted; nobody told him. He could feel it. He was faced with the decision to either win as an individual, or to say ‘to hell with it,’ and invigorate the sport. He chose the latter.

“He changed freestyle skiing,” said Raymond deVre, Moseley’s childhood coach with the Squaw Valley Freestyle Team, in an article posted in the Tahoe Quarterly. “In that Olympics, people can’t even remember who the winner was. But they know that Jonny did the dinner roll.”

The world changes, and we need to change, too, or be reduced to irrelevance. If we just listen – really, really listen – we can figure out what people want, and how to give it to them. The reward is success.

About the Author

As CEO and founder, Mr. Hill guides the vision and cutting-edge culture of X2nSat, one of the most veteran VSAT providers in North America. In 1996, he founded this forward-thinking satellite communications company with a mission to provide highly reliable, wireless network and communication solutions to a variety of North American industries.