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on World Cup skiing...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
from "Twin Peaks," Burkhard Bilger's feature on Bode Miller and Hermann Maier in the January 26 issue of The New Yorker magazine:

"The World Cup ski circuit is among the most gruelling and dangerous sporting events in the world. It consists of around forty races on two or more continents over the course of six months. Unlike the Winter Olympics or the biennial World Championships, the World Cup is held every year. . . There are four kinds of events. . . to win the over-all title -- the most coveted prize in skiing -- a racer has to dominate two or three, skiing at a death-defying pace week after week. . .
Success in professional sports is a direct measure of the athlete's willingness to get hurt and ability to heal quickly. Nowhere is this more true than in skiing: racers often reach speeds of eighty m.p.h., and, on some courses, twenty per cent of them fail to make it down the hill. . . In football or basketball, a blown knee is a potentially career-ending injury. In skiing, it's a rite of passage.
Americans have long been underachievers in Alpine skiing. . . The situation is almost the reverse of that in Austria: so few Americans live near a ski slope that the sport is a luxury of the elite and the dwindling number lucky enough to be born in the mountains. . .
Bode Miller, Hermann Maier's principal rival for this year's World Cup and the best American skier in twenty years, is one of the last of the slope rats. . . "Bode just boggles the Euorpean mind" his coach Phil McNichol told me. . . "Miller is an anomaly," McNichol said. "And you don't copy anomalies." Listening to him, though, I kept thinking of the myriad advances in sports technology in recent years. . . Anomalies may be exactly what's needed."
post #2 of 18
right, now go ask anyone on the street who the top ranked golfer in the world is, and the top ranked skier, american skier?
you will be amazed by the results.
post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ejc:
right, now go ask anyone on the street who the top ranked golfer in the world is, and the top ranked skier, american skier?
you will be amazed by the results.
Ask about the ->worlds<- top ranked skier period.

In Canada, skiing lags even behind curling.

I'm sure more people know the name Russ Howard than they know Thomas Grandi....
post #4 of 18
[quote]
Quote:
Originally posted by ejc:

I'm sure more people know the name Russ Howard than they know Thomas Grandi....
I guess I'm not one of them.
post #5 of 18
Grandi had a great comeback season toward the end...actually some good SL results....haven't been to a bonspeil lately, who is Russ Howard?
post #6 of 18
the people on this board are the exception, hence the "go ask anyone on the street"
My understanding is that skiing is behind bowling in Canada in participation and TV viewing?
one of the sports marketing firms (IMG maybe?) did a comparitive study using all the top athletes and there victories and how they should have been paid if Tiger Woods was the benchmark.
Hermann Maier would be a billionaire if he was paid the same level as Woods is.
Michael Schumacher would have been up there as well.

One of IMGs reps also said he would trade all of his skiers for one mediocre golfer, go figure.
post #7 of 18
Last year was the first year Tiger Woods made more money than Michael Schumacher. Michael took a cut in pay from Ferrari and dropped below Woods.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin:
Grandi had a great comeback season toward the end...actually some good SL results....haven't been to a bonspeil lately, who is Russ Howard?
Grandi had a great season throughout. Bit of a rough spot in the middle but a strong start too. He actually won 3 runs this season and one of them by .8 seconds!
I don't know who Russ Howard is either.
post #9 of 18
I konw who Thomas Grandi is, after all, he's part Italian, ehe.
But I do know who Tiger woods is, even though I'm no golfer, I must thank Eurosport for the great coverage of everything that has a -sport attached to it. Truck-trial championship, Icelandic craters climbing with modified 4x4...
post #10 of 18
Russ Howard? Andy Griffith show, right?
post #11 of 18
No, I think that was Russ Meyer
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ejc:
right, now go ask anyone on the street who the top ranked golfer in the world is, and the top ranked skier, american skier?
you will be amazed by the results.
If they don't know the answer to that, ask them who makes more money: the top ranked American skier or the top ranked golfer in the world. I'll bet they'll get the question right every time.

Back to the original post, different countries place different values on sports depending on how the general population likes to watch them. Obviously in the US it's football, basketball, and baseball that capture the attention. Is Bode a better athlete than, say, Brett Favre? Probably. Who would I rather watch? Brett Favre. Like most Americans I think watching skiing is boring. (That's why I think some of the events like skier cross and boarder cross are pretty exciting.)

Time Magazine had an interesting cover last year. The caption said something like, "This is the most famous person in sports and you don't know who he his." Well, the picture was of David Beckham - one of the best soccer players in the world. Would anyone here be able to pick him out in a lineup?
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by BV:
Well, the picture was of David Beckham - one of the best soccer players in the world. Would anyone here be able to pick him out in a lineup?
Posh Spice's husband. King metrosexual. Sure, I could pick him out. Other than a couple of the US female soccer stars (topless usually draws my eye), I probably wouldn't recognize any other soccer players. I find World Cup soccer, football, and baseball rather boring to watch, but I'm usually riveted by a good technical alpine race.
post #14 of 18
Ski racing on TV boring? If you say so!
One other thing about the Canadian sports fan, they voted an alpine skier, Nancy Greene, the female athlete of the millenium. Austria, Switzerland, Italy....I don't really know what other countries would place such a high regard for a skier....of course, I believe they voted for "the Great One" on the male side.
post #15 of 18
Similar article from the Economist... Note they didn't bother to mention skiers or curlers.

Superlatives

Jun 4th 1998
From The Economist print edition


“THE greatest” is how Muhammad Ali described himself. He was right, not just because he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”, twice winning the heavyweight championship of the world, but because he transcended the often-sordid sport of boxing. Other sporting heroes are defined by their competitive statistics. Mr Ali, now suffering from Parkinson’s disease, is remembered for his personality.

Is America’s Jack Nicklaus the world’s greatest golfer? Though less magnetic than Arnold Palmer, he has won more major championships than any other golfer, including all four majors. Also the most frequent runner-up in the majors, he won his last Masters in 1986 at the age of 46. Remarkably, he was in contention to win this year’s Masters as well.

Rod Laver, an unassuming Australian, is surely the best-ever tennis player: the only man to have twice won the grand slam of the game’s four major tournaments—the first as an amateur in 1962, the second as a professional in 1969, a year after the open era began. However, if Pete Sampras manages a grand slam, he could displace Mr Laver. After all, tennis in the 1990s is much more competitive than in the 1960s.

Among women players, the choice is difficult. In Mr Laver’s era his equivalent was his compatriot, Margaret Court. In the modern era the Czech-born Martina Navratilova and then Germany’s Steffi Graf vie for the position. But some would say the greatest of all time was America’s Maureen Connolly. At the age of 18 “Little Mo” was the first woman to win a grand slam. In a four-year career cut short by injury, she entered nine majors—and won them all.

Another Australian, Don Bradman, would be a statistician’s choice as the best cricketer: each time he batted for his country he seemed likely to score a century (his career average was 99.94; the next highest is 60.97). But non-statisticians would choose the West Indies’ captain, Sir Garfield Sobers: not only is he the fourth-highest scorer of test centuries, but he also bowled fast-medium and spin and was a brilliant fielder.

In America’s sports, Joe Montana is arguably the best footballer, thanks to his play-making excellence in 15 years as a quarterback—and his knack of winning the Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers. Michael Jordan stands out in basketball: the highest-scoring average, an all-round game and a personality that has made the NBA a leading attraction. Babe Ruth for baseball? There are rival claimants, but Mr Ruth took the sport to a higher level—and was brilliant as a batter, pitcher and outfielder. In ice-hockey the choice is surely Canada’s Wayne Gretzky, still playing and with by far the most goals and assists.

In motor-racing, a sport for the brave or foolish, Juan Manuel Fangio of Argentina stands out as the only man to win five world championships. Moreover he raced in the 1950s, managing to survive an era in which car racing was much more dangerous than today.

Carl Lewis is perhaps the best track-and-field athlete of all time, not only for his nine Olympic gold medals (others have won more) but for gaining them over four successive games, from 1984 in Los Angeles to 1996 in Atlanta.

And the best player of the “beautiful game”? Without a doubt Pele himself. Not only did he score 12 goals for Brazil in four World Cups, his team winning three of them, but he pioneered soccer in America, its last frontier. Just as with Muhammad Ali, everyone, everywhere knows his name.

[ April 07, 2004, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: darrellcraig ]
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by Alaska Mike:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by BV:
Well, the picture was of David Beckham - one of the best soccer players in the world. Would anyone here be able to pick him out in a lineup?
metrosexual. </font>[/quote]I didn't think anyone besides $0.10/word hacks ever used that empty cliche.
post #17 of 18
Just pointing out he's known beyond the soccer world. So far there haven't been many alpine skiers in the US to crack that kind of recognition, other than perhaps Picabo.

No negative connotation implied with the term- he just seems to be held up as the poster boy of that whole movement. He's an outstanding athlete, but it seems he's better known for other things in the states.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by BigE:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by ejc:
right, now go ask anyone on the street who the top ranked golfer in the world is, and the top ranked skier, american skier?
you will be amazed by the results.
Ask about the ->worlds<- top ranked skier period.

In Canada, skiing lags even behind curling.

I'm sure more people know the name Russ Howard than they know Thomas Grandi....
</font>[/quote]I believe that the vast majority of Canadians don't know who either are
BTW, for those who asked, Russ Howard is a curler (see http://personal.nbnet.nb.ca/lynner/TeamHoward/)
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