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The bib-draw at Garmisch --- ????

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Can anyone make sense of the Bode Miller bib draw incident and subsequent punishment. For being a few minutes late to the draw he was forced  to race from the back of the pack at number 46  This is from Aksel Svindal's blog: "It usually starts at 18.00, but all racers have to show up 17.45. Last night Bode showed at 17.50, and for that he is punished by the FIS and given bib 46. Is that too harsh? I think so. He was still in good time before he was getting his bib. Sometimes these bib draws take for ever. And the fact that he is ranked in the top 7 and the best guys come last at the bib draw, he was there possibly an hour before it was his time to get the bib. And today he has probably lost his chance of getting a good result."

 

The Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup article says: "Favorite Bode Miller had challenges starting on Friday night during the public bib draw. He showed up 3 minutes late, was fined $999 Swiss francs, and was moved to the back of the start list from position 16 to 46. After skiing from his new assigned starting spot to 35th place, he quickly left the finish area without speaking to reporters."

 

So apparently he was three minutes late for a reporting time set fifteen minutes before an entertainment event in which he would not even need to appear for another hour after the time he was expected to show up. This was worth removing one of the podium contenders from the competition? No one knows how he would have done with his original position 16 start but surely removing him reduced the excitement of competition and potentially  affected the race.  Maybe he would have failed, but now no one knows.

 

How significant is being three minutes late (or even five) to the pre-show up time to the bib draw? (This isn't a rhetorical question. I don't know anything about these events.) Does it make sense for the race jury to make a ruling that affects the race over an event that has nothing to do with the fair and safe running of the race?

 

Don't get me wrong Cuche and Guay skied well but it still doesn't make sense to me that a major contender is removed from competition, nor does it seem fair.

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 16

This is what he gets for speaking out against the regime.

post #3 of 16

While the punishment is harsh (and, most would argue, too harsh), it's well-known and well-established. It happens a few times each year (Bode's done it on purpose too, before - I think in Bormio? a few years ago) to gain something w.r.t. start position.

 

That said, I understand FIS's position here. The bib draw is an important factor in selling an event to the community - locals get to actually see and be close to the athletes in a much more intimate and personal manner during bib draw than at the race venue. It's all about marketing and money on the world cup. Athletes SHOULD have to participate in these events if they wish to draw on the spoils of racing World Cup. It's a responsibility to the sport.

 

As much as I love Bode, he deserved this.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

I would agree he deserved it if he showed up at the last minute or not at all, but to be punished for  showing up twelve minutes early (in the Audi FIS World Cup article) or ten minutes early (in Svindal's version) instead of fifteen minutes early seems ridiculous.

post #5 of 16

Rules are rules, and they are clear. Think different about all this, and you will see there's reason for it. Sometimes, there 500 people waiting for bib draw (before SL races in Flachau), but sometimes you have few 1000 people waiting for bib draw (Kitzbuhel, Schladming, Soelden and partly also Garmisch). They come to see their heroes, they stand there in cold for hour or more before anything even starts. And on the end, they don't see their heroe, because he thought it was more important to drink another beer then be there. If someone like it or not, being on bib draw is part of your job. If it's too much for you to be there, then solution is really simple... you quit skiing and noone will be bugging you with early start times, with bib draws etc.
Now why there's time when they need to be there? Simply because there's strict schedule behind everything. Many times there's live tv sending and tv won't wait for "oh Bode just had one more beer, but he will be here shortly". So rule is, you need to be there on specific time. He did bib draw or two before in his life, so he should know it. And I agree about punishment. It's perfectly fine, if you want to keep things moving. If you let Bode be late today for 2 minutes, tomorrow he will be late for 6, and next time someone else will be late for 15. And end result is what?

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

I understand your point and to an extent I agree with you.  But surely the punishment should be monetary. A fine, even a large one is appropriate to punish an infraction against an event, no matter how popular, that is for entertainment.  Let's face it the race holders are holding that event to make money.  To punish a competitor in a way that affects their performance in a race for an infraction that has no bearing on the race denigrates the integrity of the race. This could even affect standings in races for globes.  (I'm not whining that Bode was being cheated out of a globe, just that this kind of punishment has affects beyond even one event that seems pointless to risk over something that has nothing to do with racing.)

 

For example the punishment for racing after a straddle was a fine, but that is an infraction that affects the race itself, yet it is punished with a fine, while points and standing remain unaffected.  I'm not bringing this up to attack Hirscher but to point out that the punishments are logically inconsistent at least to me.  One action that affects the race itself is punished with a monetary punishment that has no affect on standings in the sport, while another infraction that affects an entertainment  show and not the race, results in major loss of points and ability to compete.

 

Do you know that Bode was late because he had an extra drink at a bar or are you just giving an example?  I ask because another athlete (whose name I can't remember) complained on twitter for being punished in a similar way for being late at I think a Europa cup.  He was late because someone stole his skis and no one would allow him to explain his reasons.  That situation made more sense because I think he was late at the start for his actual event and that of course would affect his race.

 

post #7 of 16

It's just my opinion which doesn't count much but still... I agree about measure of this punishment. First place in Kitzbuhel makes you 70.000eur richer. Penalty for straddling and keep going is approximately 800eur (when you do it for first time). Money penalty for missing bib-draw is most likely somewhere around this. Considering you can benefit greatly with such gamble, history would start to repeat. It was happening before, that whole teams were missing bib draws, because they were gambling with weather forecasts and course conditions. Do you really think it's problem to pay 800eur, when there's 70.000eur (and eternal glory) in play?

PS: No in this particular case I didn't see him drink extra beer, but I personally saw too many thing involving him, I wouldn't be surprised if that would be the case. Road jam or lack of parking place around congress house, infront of which bib draw was done, certainly wasn't reason. And like I said... he did more then enough bib draws to know what to do and what to expect.

post #8 of 16

At this level race, not only are the rules very clear, so are the consequences for when those rules are broken. The jury really didn't have a choice.

post #9 of 16

Yep, very true...rules are rules, right?  I was talking to a guy at the shop where I get my Atomic gear re the sidecut issues.  He's been around the race community for years, and here's what he said: "The FIS is nothing but politics.  The FIS doesn't give a crap about the athletes." 

 

biggrin.gif

 



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Sadler View Post

At this level race, not only are the rules very clear, so are the consequences for when those rules are broken. The jury really didn't have a choice.



 

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

 

 

Quote:
Do you really think it's problem to pay 800eur, when there's 70.000eur (and eternal glory) in play?

 

I wouldn't have a problem with an athlete receiving a large fine (even 70.000eur) for missing a bib draw or being late, especially if there is evidence that they did it for strategic reasons. (I would think some evidence would have to be presented for an especially large fine, not just assumptions.) I have a problem with punishments that interfere with the integrity of a race for infractions that have nothing to do with the race itself.  The jury enters the race then in an inappropriate manner:  "I don't like your behavior outside the event so I will make you lose the event." A sporting event is supposed to have some impartiality.

 

Large fines are possible.  Didn't Bode pay a large fine for foul language once?  I thought it was ten thousand euros or something, but I may be remembering it wrong.

post #11 of 16

I think it would be unfair to level a large fine (on the order of 70K euro) for missing bib draw, because that undermines most athletes' ability to earn a living from skiing (which is already nearly impossible). Most athletes would be unable to pay it. Similarly, if the fine was around 1K euro, I think some athletes (especially the ones likely to attend the draw - the top 7-15) would simply pay the fine so as to not attend. That hurts the sport.

 

Finally, I think it's been proven (or at least, "shown" or "suggested") in other sports, that money is just an object, but cutting into playing time / affecting an athletes' ability to compete is what really forces compliance / changes behavior. In this sense, I think the penalty makes sense from the FIS's perspective.

post #12 of 16

Every now and then weather and snow make a course faster for later seeds. The top seeded skiers still win because they are the best, and they all start close to each other so it is as fair as an outdoor sport can be.  Wouldn't it have been hilarious if had been one of those days and Bode had won?

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 

Bruins14Sammmy I'm not really interested in giving athletes devastating fines for being a few minutes late to the show up time for a media event. I just believe a financial punishment is far more appropriate than handicapping athletes in an event.  But surely if an athlete feared economic hardship they would be sure to be there and if you think such a fine could hurt someone who innocently showed up late, then isn't handicapping them so they can't compete fairly in a race just as unfair?  Affecting an athletes ability to compete over cheating, unfair or unsafe or unnecessarily violent behavior on the field makes sense, but doing it over not treating a publicity event seriously enough is ridiculous, at least to me.  

Originally posted by Robin Sadler:
At this level race, not only are the rules very clear, so are the consequences for when those rules are broken. The jury really didn't have a choice.
 

Does the Jury have no choice?  According to Steve Porino others have been late without punishment: @akselsvindal Miller late to Garmisch bib draw and sentenced to start #46 tomorrow- Multiple Austrians late to draw in Courcheval-nada

 

If the above is true than the jury punishes who they want at will and I think that is an inappropriate interference in the race.

post #14 of 16

In my opinion, money fines system is not possible. When it comes to speculations and playing games with start numbers you have to count you have two kinds of racers there. One is Bode for example, the other are pretty much everyone else. I believe 10 or 20.000 CHF is not all that much of money for Bode, while on other side it's helluva lot of money for Jan Hudec for example. So if they put out money fines system, money fines should be so ridiculous high, that people will go broke if they break rules. Of course if we want, that system would work for everyone. And sometimes there are plausible excuses why someone was late or he missed bib draw (being sick doesn't come to play, since these things are normally notified on team captains meeting, so Mike knows beforehand already who will be missing bib-draw because of health issues). If you don't put fines this high, we can stay with money fines as they are now already... For majority of racers even 1000 chf is lot of money, while for some it means less then good lunch.

So I actually agree that only thing that really work is hitting racers there, where it hurts most... with their start position. So I would say it's not bad option.

PS: As far as it goes for "nothing happens to others" it's a bit so so. Once you are around there a lot, you will see things, which are never told on tv or never written in newspapers. And you will see sometimes things just go way too far and constant warnings doesn't help, so something drastic  needs to be done. Bode didn't miss his first bib-draw in Garmisch, but it was for first time, that he was moved so far back on start list. Normally racer gets last number in that group, and Bode had it quite few times already because of this. So obviously someone had enough of this, and draw a move, which is still inside of rules but was never used before.

post #15 of 16

The only way you could have a workable system of fines (as Primoz notes) is to have different fines depending on who's being fined. That seems a very undesirable solution.

 

Minor additional thoughts:

 

- Showing up on time (to the minute) is a pretty fundamental element of the sport. If you're a minute late for your start, you get disqualified, or at least drop to the end of a seed group. If you can show up on time to start, you can show up on time for other purposes.

 

- Dropping down to start 46th in a downhill isn't necessarily a big handicap. The course doesn't break down much. Starting at a particular time sometimes can be advantageous or disadvantageous due to variables like wind, light, temperature, etc., but it's about equally likely that these variables will favor the 46th start position as they will favor the 22nd. Bode would ordinarily start between 15 and 22: if starting c. 20 spots later is a huge disadvantage, why don't the people who start near the beginning beat the top group, who are around 20 spots later than them?

 

- Bode's made a bit of a habit of missing bib draws altogether: He's done at at Bormia and Wengen, at least.

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
from Primoz:
As far as it goes for "nothing happens to others" it's a bit so so. Once you are around there a lot, you will see things, which are never told on tv or never written in newspapers. And you will see sometimes things just go way too far and constant warnings doesn't help, so something drastic  needs to be done. Bode didn't miss his first bib-draw in Garmisch, but it was for first time, that he was moved so far back on start list. Normally racer gets last number in that group, and Bode had it quite few times already because of this. So obviously someone had enough of this, and draw a move, which is still inside of rules but was never used before.

That's interesting.

 

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