I dunno, I respect the downhill alpine guys and girls a fair bit. Some of that, like Moguls is physically brutal, they have legs of steel, its not just a case of sliding down. Climb up the mountain first? Thats not the point. Do you expect all the athletes at the Olympics to run or cycle their way there? Should the Marathoners run from the hotel to the start line, then back at the end of the day from the finish? Lance Armstrong flew around the world to his events, pfft, what a softy!
Equestrian I can see your point, but its also a physical sport, just on another level. Take a look on youtube of some highlights clips of the Australian Team Event performance at the Atlanta olympics to win gold. F*cking hardarse. Gillian Rolton nursed a broken collarbone through it, and I think from memory one of the men in the team nursed injuries through the event to win the gold, broken ribs and such that wouldn't have been fun doing the jumps on the last day. And it takes years and years of dedication and training to get to that level in the sport. Sure, there are sometimes animal cruelty issues, and I can't stand horse racing myself (mainly due to the relation of it with crazy levels of gambling in Australia) but no doubt the best of them love their horses as much as their kids and treat them really well, and the horses love their riders too and love doing their best for them.
If you think all downhill sports are lame, check out Danny Hart's world champs winning ride recently. The final comment of the commentator sums up it all:
As to people claiming credit like they are Reinhold when they used a team of Sherpa's, yeah, pretty lame. As to using Sherpa's, as long as they are treated well I think its a great thing.