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Bode Miller by Mark Levine www.nytimes.com

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Good reading re our friend Bode Miller in todays sunday NY times new sports magazine "Play"...it can be clicked on in the far right of home page.....

www.nytimes.com
post #2 of 20
Just signed up and read the article. Finally something about Bode that is not written by some ignorant prude. Worth reading!
post #3 of 20
I don't think the author is the same Mark Levine that wrote Men in Black. I thought the article was interesting.

More interesting was the article in the sports section about the US Ski Team. I was surprised that Bode's favorite terrain to free ski is groomers.
post #4 of 20
ironically that fairly interesting article makes the very strong argument that the news and entertainment media ALWAYS should be ignored.

but you have to be a media consumer to see the message. literally and figuratively.

but this here, this is very good stuff:

Quote:
Indeed, Miller is a purist's nightmare. Although he has the fastest, most dynamic footwork of any skier — an ability that allows him to cut turns at steeper angles and to generate sudden bursts of speed — his upper body can, as a result, be jolted as brutally as a bull rider's. Miller has written that those who object to his skiing on aesthetic grounds are "confusing truth with beauty. Perfect form may be beautiful, but in ski racing, winning times translate as truth." Miller was, for once, being modest. He is a marvel to watch. If the great Austrian champ Hermann Maier is persistently likened to a machine, then Miller is his all-too-human counterpart: a skier who manages to enact, by way of his sport, the drama of a soul in free fall struggling to rescue itself.
now here's an interesting idea:

I am a big watcher of World Cup DH mtb racing vids. the one thing that all DH racers at the World Cup level would agree on is that the fastest person down the hill is the best rider that day. they may tease each other about riding ragged or loose but getting down fastest is most important.

I think it's funny that skiers are more anal about this.

I don't think the athleticism is any different, nor more "elite" for skiers.
post #5 of 20
I've been harping on the news and entertainment media for months now.

Finally, someone agrees with me that 99.9% of it is all bullsh!t.

About DH racing, to me it's all about survival. Not so much technique but balls out go for the bottom ability to recover from mistakes without disaster.

This describes Miller to the tee. If he doesn't win the downhill, Rahlves will.
post #6 of 20
Quote:
This describes Miller to the tee. If he doesn't win the downhill, Rahlves will.
Senestriere favours gliders and Rhavles is far from being one. He might come out strong, but there are veterans out there who have the same drive to succeed at their last olympics: Ghedina for one, will be a very, very strong contender, Aamodt too, or even Buechel. And you never can count out Walchofer and Strobl, both of wich have had incredible seasons (Strobl had not finished out of the top five once until Kitzbuehel and remember, he is the last Olympic champion).

Erik will also be a contender, but coming back from an, albeit minor, injury, I doubt he'll be able to get it togheter on the downhill, super-g maybe.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars
I've been harping on the news and entertainment media for months now.

Finally, someone agrees with me that 99.9% of it is all bullsh!t.

About DH racing, to me it's all about survival. Not so much technique but balls out go for the bottom ability to recover from mistakes without disaster.

This describes Miller to the tee. If he doesn't win the downhill, Rahlves will.
spoken (er...posted) like a monday morning QB who's never played the game. DH is pure technique and strength. at speeds in excess of 70 MPH, a DH course becomes, through velocity foreshortening, as technical as any GS, except much, much fstser, requiring far more polished technique for smooth reaction.
go out and compete in a few DHes and get back to me.
post #8 of 20
spoken (er...posted) like a monday morning QB who's never played the game. DH is pure technique and strength. at speeds in excess of 70 MPH, a DH course becomes, through velocity foreshortening, as technical as any GS, except much, much fstser, requiring far more polished technique for smooth reaction.
go out and compete in a few DHes and get back to me.


It's funny that SL and GS are referred to as 'technical' events and SG and DH are 'speed' events. I always thought that was because in SL and GS there is no real time to correct line from gate to gate, a mistake half way down a course will effect the rest of the run. In SG and DH there is time from gate to gate to get back on line, correct from a bobble, etc. But what do I know.
post #9 of 20
'technical' courses are those which feature more medialateral spread in their sets.
line correction exists in all alpine disciplines, the atlete's reaction time indicates which events and runs he/she will actually be able to correct.
again, the fact that speed is so much higher in DH makes the time between gates much closer and more difficult to correct than it appears...add the element of technical, across-the-hill sets, and DH lilne correction become sfar and away more difficult than it might appear, at first
post #10 of 20
So far as I understand things, the term "technical" was coined when there were three events, as a way of collectively describing slalom and GS. In the 70s and 80s, racers typically specialized in DH or SL-GS ("technical events").
I wouldn't try to invest it with a ton of meaning. It's typically used to mean something like "turny," or "rewarding proficiency in the technique of turning." That isn't to say that there isn't technique involved in knowing how to run run fast down the fall line ("glide"), or deal with terrain, or most importantly to pick and follow the ideal line.

As downhills have become somewhat more technical over the years, and giant slaloms have become faster, the distinction between "speed" and "technical" events may not be as definite as it used to be. Indeed, at the top levels, it's sort of getting so the biggest dividing line is between GS and slalom, with three events on one side, and one on the other.

A minor point: I'm not sure who the "Erik" referred to in one post above is. If it's Schlopy, he hasn't raced downhill at all in many years, and doesn't regularly race Super G. He won't race in either in the Olympics, but only the GS.
post #11 of 20
superGs were invented for the TV audience...techical gates, regardless of opinions posted on these forums, are those which needs require bringing the athelte's line across the hill. at least that's what we called 'em in weltcup racing
post #12 of 20
Hijackus Interruptius: (From the NYT article this thread is about.)

Miller's run, by contrast, was laced with fundamental errors. Within seconds of the start, he entered a turn too late, collapsed onto his left hip and bounced through the snow in a sitting position, appearing to render moot the distinction between falling and skiing. A moment later, he hit a bump and was thrown aloft, his legs splayed in opposite directions. As he continued downhill, his body swung like a fast-moving pendulum. It was as if he were being tossed down the mountain. Still, he managed to stay in the course, screaming at the top of his lungs as he careered through gates. As he neared the bottom of the slope, he suffered a final near-disaster: his skis slipped out from under him, and he fell backward. Once more he righted himself. When he crossed the finish line, he threw himself face forward into the snow. One television announcer said it was a miracle that Miller had completed the run while skiing in such a manner. There was a further miracle: his time was a half-second faster than Rahlves's.
Miller's victory at Beaver Creek demonstrated the secret of his huge appeal as an athlete: he races as what he is — raw, reckless, occasionally inelegant, always uninhibited. His skiing aims for more than technical perfection; it seems to exalt in a romantic relationship with danger. It wants to test the limits. What might it be like to be Miller? "You scream by fences, trees, TV cameras, and people at eighty miles an hour plus," he writes in his book. "For me, this is as powerful and alive as I ever feel. And all I care about at that moment is going to that place where nothing matters and time slows."
post #13 of 20
......Since every sports fan, consciously or not, is a fan of myth, it may be useful, before considering the question mark appended to the figure of Bode Miller, to bring to mind the example of a free-spirited boy named Icarus. Icarus was given wings of feathers and wax — high-tech, aerodynamic equipment in its day — with which to flee the confines of his existence. His flight coach warned him to avoid hovering too low, lest he wipe out on a wave, or soaring too high, lest he flame out. But Icarus was a fiend for novelty and daring. Flying felt good. It felt free. Icarus caught tremendous air, as the saying goes, and launched himself through the sky. He could sense the temperature rising. It must, he thought, be the heat of the moment, that special flush that animates adventure seekers. But it was more than that. It was the sun. Soon, Icarus' gear was toast. He fell. He streaked across the horizon, and disappeared into the sea with a splash. Some observers were saddened by the spectacle. Others found the humbling of Icarus to be a case of just deserts.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by vlad
techical gates, regardless of opinions posted on these forums, are those which needs require bringing the athelte's line across the hill.
It's the same thing: "technical" = "turny."

Anyway, my main point is that one shouldn't try to invest the word "technical," when used in this context, with too much meaning. To do well in downhill requires technique, or what in the more general sense might be considered "technical skills," as much as any event.

It seems clear to me that DH, particularly at the World Cup level, isn't a contest of who has the most courage. Confidence and the nerve to run the course are the entry ticket: everyone has those. Okay, there may be a few exceptions when "technical" racers sometimes run downhills ... or perhaps at Kitzbuhel, which seems to scare even some of the best. But, for the most part, you have to have the courage just to enter the race. To do well, you need to pick the line, turn well at high speed, handle the jumps, get and hold a good tuck, ride a fast ski on the flats, etc. etc.
post #15 of 20
As for the article, it's a helpful palliative for the recent media nonsense surrounding Bode. Beyond that, it's okay but a bit superficial. They did rather neatly manage to work in a big photo of Bode wearing Nike shoes, which is a little tricky when your subject is a ski racer.

The little photo gallery that follows in the magazine is a bit odd, though suitably arty. Presumably their photo session was months ago, and maybe some potential subjects were unavailable. They feature Lalive (who apparently isn't even racing due to injury, and wasn't realistically a big medal hope) and ignore Mancuso, for example.
post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiMangoJazz
Hijackus Interruptius: (From the NYT article this thread is about.)

Miller's run, by contrast, was laced with fundamental errors. Within seconds of the start, he entered a turn too late, collapsed onto his left hip and bounced through the snow in a sitting position, appearing to render moot the distinction between falling and skiing. A moment later, he hit a bump and was thrown aloft, his legs splayed in opposite directions. As he continued downhill, his body swung like a fast-moving pendulum. It was as if he were being tossed down the mountain. Still, he managed to stay in the course, screaming at the top of his lungs as he careered through gates. As he neared the bottom of the slope, he suffered a final near-disaster: his skis slipped out from under him, and he fell backward. Once more he righted himself. When he crossed the finish line, he threw himself face forward into the snow. One television announcer said it was a miracle that Miller had completed the run while skiing in such a manner. There was a further miracle: his time was a half-second faster than Rahlves's.
Miller's victory at Beaver Creek demonstrated the secret of his huge appeal as an athlete: he races as what he is — raw, reckless, occasionally inelegant, always uninhibited. His skiing aims for more than technical perfection; it seems to exalt in a romantic relationship with danger. It wants to test the limits. What might it be like to be Miller? "You scream by fences, trees, TV cameras, and people at eighty miles an hour plus," he writes in his book. "For me, this is as powerful and alive as I ever feel. And all I care about at that moment is going to that place where nothing matters and time slows."
As I said, less technical but able to recover from mistakes better than anyone else on the circuit at this moment.

Technical doesn't always win Vlad. Winning doesn't always have to look pretty either. Look at the Bill Johnson gold medal run.

I've done some racing over the years, not as much downhill as I would have liked, but will concede that you probably know more about it than me. Still, I have my opinion.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars
As I said, less technical but able to recover from mistakes better than anyone else on the circuit at this moment.

Technical doesn't always win Vlad. Winning doesn't always have to look pretty either. Look at the Bill Johnson gold medal run.

I've done some racing over the years, not as much downhill as I would have liked, but will concede that you probably know more about it than me. Still, I have my opinion.
Nice tying together the thread with the hijack. Well done.
post #18 of 20

Myth and sports

The most interesting contention the author made, for me, was that every fan of sport is a fan of myth. I find sport has mythic qualities but thats about it. The use of Icarus was interesting as well, there are certainly a number of connotations that one can take from that myth.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston
A minor point: I'm not sure who the "Erik" referred to in one post above is. If it's Schlopy, he hasn't raced downhill at all in many years, and doesn't regularly race Super G. He won't race in either in the Olympics, but only the GS.
Erik Guay. Bummer: http://www.skiracing.com/news/news_d...hp/3292/ALPINE
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bez
Erik Guay. Bummer:
Ah. Now that makes so much sense. He would have been at least among the contenders.

Bummer indeed.
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