The tale of Johnny Teller gained a nationwide audience today.
“An American success story!” is what one ESPN announcer called it after Teller, as local as a Mammoth local gets, won the gold medal in Men’s Skier X in the X Games 15 at Aspen.
Some will call it another milestone win for the star of the Alpine Garage Ski Team.
Teller defeated favorite and defending champion Chris Del Bosco in the Skier X final race to earn the gold medal. Del Bosco led the early part of the race before Teller passed him during a series of bumps and humps and the “part-time mechanic”, Teller, held on for the thrilling victory.
“Let the celebration begin in Mammoth Lakes, California!” one announcer roared.
Not that Teller’s family and friends needed to be reminded.
On TV, mom Debbie Teller was given full-screen tears-of-joy treatment, a poignant moment; Mammoth Mountain’s Rusty Gregory was there.
“John Teller could be the next big thing in Skier X,” one ESPN announcer said.
This victory is much-more “TV friendly” for the 27-year-old Teller than when he became the first American to win a World Cup Skier X event earlier this month in Italy. That happened in Europe and was not widely televised – this was the X Games in Aspen on ESPN, and yes, ESPN HD!
Teller was relaxed and humble in the post-race interview. The ESPN interviewer talked of his recent success and asked, “Where do you come from?”
“Mammoth,” Teller said with a huge, telling smile.
The announcer noted his part-time mechanic work, and Teller said, “It just shows hard work, doesn’t matter what you do, it always pays off.”
Teller, who had to qualify through the quarter- and semi-finals, will likely get some coverage tonight during the prime-time broadcast, featuring Shaun White in the men’s superpipe finals.
Teller’s great run could also merit inclusion in ESPN’s Top 10 Plays, and will likely be seen a few times throughout the next week on ESPN’s many networks.
And the “American success story” great win will no doubt get dozens of DVR screenings in homes all around the Eastern Sierra.