Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Panel-gate" Bode's last stand.

Is this how we will remember Bode's last race??

Bode Miller has done many great things to create excitement for skiing in the USA and around the world. He has had an outstanding career. He sure had many great races and as he says, "Did it his way". Bode is nothing, if not exciting to watch and thrilling many times over, to every spectator. 

Unfortunately, he was not always been the smartest racer. Two huge opportunities recently come to mind, and are just a glimpse into his mistake ridden career. We all know what Bode would say to this comment. In a nut shell, it's Bode's attitude, at least in the public one,  he shows no regret. He says he is in it for the thrill, to go straighter and faster then any man can. You can see this macho, the go for broke, "devil may care", super skier in him. Or you can view it as rather cavalier and destructive. It's rather tough to be cavalier at 80 mph on sheer ice, but he managed it.  

One of Bode's greatest missed opportunities came  last year at the Sochi Olympics, in the Downhill, he had the thing wired, 2 second plus leads in all the pre-runs, but all for nothing. Bode decided he could cut the line even more in the race. So he took a new and different line, he had not yet dialed in. Huge mistake, and therefore no gold! Would he have won the Olympic Downhill Gold if he skied exactly like he did in training, of course, ask any informed observer of ski racing, he had the Gold around his neck. 

Yesterday, another sad ending.  Bode Miller, 9 weeks out of back surgery, with almost 1/2 second lead, half way down the Super G course at the World Championships at Beaver Creek, he made, by ski racing standards, another stupid mistake. He cut uphill sharply and ran over, into and through a gate. The result was a horrible crash, which could have easily been much worst. It's terrible to see anyone crash and especially one resulting in a deep cut from a ski to the back of the leg. This accident resulted in a severed major hamstring tendon.

With these two races Bode would have again topped his career with miraculous comebacks. Was yesterday's win still a possibility, was a win in the cards up to the point of tragedy? It was a possibility right up to the moment of "Panelgate"? I think Bode could have been on the podium, and that would have been miraculous. 

Aggression is good in ski racing, but when it is taken to the extreme and becomes the predominant approach, and it interferes constantly with your preservation and even finishing, my view is it's self defeating, shows insecurity and immaturity. Taking nothing away from bode's athletic ability as a skier. He is one of the most gifted skiers of all time. Athletic gifts don't always come with a calculating, quite, peaceful mind. Bode had a great ski career, the question is, will he question his own behavior as he grows older, that reminds me of a commercial for Audi I saw recently.
Panelgate, Bode's last stand.


Ken Warfield said...

Like he said, the panel should have come off, maybe in GS, but at 80 mph the forces are much different and it seems you would be careful to go around the gate the correct way at that speed.

Unknown said...

What a heartbreaking moment this was! Especially, if this is the last time we ever see this magnificent talent on the world stage. On second thought, perhaps it is fitting that he ends on such a note. He almost always took more risk than others thought he should. He often paid the price as well. However, it was in this calculated risk taking that he discovered his technique innovations. These techniques combined with his extraordinary talent and instincts, allowed him the transcendent performances that we all remember!

Harald, you are probably right in your speculation that with a bit more wisdom and judgemnt, Bode could have achieved even more than he did ( even as tremendous as his accomplishments are). Often, we must take people as they are, flaws and greatness combined. In fact, I believe you are an example of this phenomenon yourself! I personally have benefited greatly from your insights and coaching. Your comprehensive contribution to the sport of skiing and ski racing, is truly awesome. However, I believe you could have (and might still!), a much greater impact. The obstacle in my view, is that for some reason, your comments and critiques of technique are often couched in a put down of someone else ( other coaches, the PSIA, other ski shops and bootfitters, etc.). Just as you admonish Bode for his perceived failings, "physician heal thyself"! Or as it says somewhere in scripture, " Don't try to remove the splinter from your brother's eye, until you remove the log from your own eye" ( paraphraseing).

What am I talking about? Examine yourself and notice how often your often tremendous insight is marred by ctriticizing some else! It is not necessary most of the time. In fact, consider the possibility that your harsh crticisms of others, alienate much of the very group who could most benefit from your contribution! This insecurity, or compulsion to make others less than yourself, is as much of a hindrance to your greater acceptance, as Bode's immaturity has been to his career.

I urge you to do some serious introspection, ask others close to you, read your own work in this light. If you can see clearly within yourself the source of this insecurity ( perhaps, a harsh upbringing?), maybe you can find a greater acceptance of yourself and others. This acceptance and magnanimty, would so much complement your contribution to the skiing world! I only recognize this in you, because of my own journey in this regard. My own critical tendencies geatly interfered with my effectiveness as a manager, leader, and parent, and ski instructor.To the extent that I have taken my own advice, it has greatly benefited those around me. I hope you can hear this feedback in the spirit that it was given. Just as you might wish that Bode would listen to your comments, I hope you will listen and take to heart what I am saying. At least, consider what I am saying, and see if it might indeed apply to you.