Originally Posted by sjjohnston
From Miller's Standpoint:
It seems a little harder to explain. His move to Atomic two years ago was immediately followed by suddenly improved results, particularly in the speed events, where the ski and associated technical support make a big difference. I don't think anyone has had a similar experience with Head (Lalive did get the one podium, though her other results this year were sort of lackluster by her standards). Plus, he's presumably going to change boots, which is not a minor consideration.
Some possible thoughts:
- Money. I don't think Atomic dumped him. That would be stupid ... he's still a contender for globes, and multiple medals at the World Championships: the medal/globe count is a prime Atomic advertising technique. Indeed, he's really better now than he was when Atomic signed him, or at least just as good.
- Status/Attention. Bode has always been sensitive to his status with the manufacturer. He apparently was irked that Fischer considered Von Gruenigen "the guy," and not him. Presumably there's a perception on his party -- and probably a reality -- that Raich is now "the guy" at Atomic. Bode will definitely be Head's big name. This isn't entirely an emotional issue, as the top dog gets the best skis and the best support.
No one debates that money plays a role, but all of the guys on the world cup basically get their skis hand built to their specifications. I noticed Atomic had Bode skiing the slalom on skis with next years (red) top sheets, but who knows what lies beneath.
You know this plays into various private theories that some of us were kicking around in Colorado last week. While Bode could have had an off day at Sestriere, another possibility is that Atomic had his skis tuned wrong, or possibly a combination of a wrong tune with Bode trying to over compensate. Tuning is critical at that level of competition, and it is interesting that Raich won and Bode lost, Raich being Austrian.
Coincidence? Who knows? But one very good reason for Bode's switch could be fundamental disagreement about the tune or skis in February and subsequent race results. The European take this stuff extremely seriously, and for the Austrians it is a national catastrophe on a level with Katrina if no one on the men's team finishes at the top of the podium. Would they pull a Killy? Oh, and didn't Raich get the world cup overall title too?
Just random musings, but something is possibly rotten in Osterreich, (and I'm not just talking about the sauerkraut) ?
I'll leave that one for the ages to ponder along with the timing on the final '68 slalom run.