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End of Austrian domination on the men's side ?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
With young stars such as Ligety and Kucera, and old relaibles coming back to form like Cuche (what has this guy done in the off-season ? He now has serious chances of claiming the overall if he stays on track) and Bode, we have yet to see an Austrian win anything apart from the opening slalom in Levi this year. In fact (spoiliers from the Alta Badia slalom ahead!!!!!!!!!!!) 5 of their skiers did not manage to get a second run and Raich was DQed in the second one... The Austrian, who have had a stranglehold on the nation's cup since Tomba's departure, are now seeing it slip... and the WC is now more fun to watch as a result (at least for me).

If it wasn't for the women's side, they would have a hard time fending off the USA in the points race.

PS: Should Bode, like many of the racers nowdays, just concentrate on GS, SG and DH instead of showing up to straddle or lose control after 10 gates in slalom ? Seems like a lot of wasted energy to me. Back in 2003, when he was lighting up the circuit in slalom, setups weren't the same as nowdays and seemed to allow more of his go for broke line (ie. straigth at the gate). Now, with the greater offsets, go you gotta be quick if you want to work the tails... And Bode seems to have lost a bit of this quickness. Plus, it is likely that this is his last season, so concentrating his energies into the disciplines he still has chances (and very good chances at that) of winning races in should help him focus and not get burned out towards the end of the season like he has done in the past.
post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyRay View Post
PS: Should Bode, like many of the racers nowdays, just concentrate on GS, SG and DH instead of showing up to straddle or lose control after 10 gates in slalom ? .

It would seem reasonable, but just a few years ago people were wondering why he bothered trying to ski DH and SG, claiming he should concentrate on SL and GS.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah, but back then, he wasn't talking about retiring after the season. But Bode is Bode, and I wouldn't expect him to "do the right thing": his objective is probably to bag as many podiums as possible in this discipline (1-2-3???), no matter how much DNF he racks up the process. He isn't skiing for points or to win the overall, he is skiing to win, period (and that might be his downfall).

I remember when the FIS tried to screw Ingemar out of the overall title stating that you had to run DH too to get it (or some other crapshoot) and he just decided to do one race (at Kitzbuelh ??? this always amazed me).

If the same thing had happened to Bode, I wager he'd start training in order to race (and win) in the downhills.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyRay View Post
Should Bode, like many of the racers nowdays, just concentrate on GS, SG and DH?
Nah. He believes he can still ski SL with the best. The points in the combined, as well as in the new super-combined are very valuable too in the season-long chase for the overall. Bode's a head-strong s.o.b. - as a competitor. He'll figure it out. He's proven he's not a quitter.
post #5 of 16
I'm pretty surprised about the Austrians as well, but it is early in the season still and there are half a dozen of them perched between 9 and 19 in the overall rankings. Thats only around 200 points out of first.

It seems like they have been plagued by DNFs more than slow skiing and their technique is still... Austrian. Maybe, as people have mentioned in other threads, this has to do with risk management? Perhaps the Austrians can't just bank on having the most refined technical skills and they need to learn how to let it all hang out?
post #6 of 16
You can't count the Austrians out. They have amazing depth to their program, and the Darwinian selection necessary to make the Austrian team means the athletes on the team have climbed over guys who'd be on the World Cup circuit if they were from most other countries. I don't know why the Austrian men have been missing from the podiums lately, especially in the speed events where historically they've been dominant.

One reason is that the North Americans (Canada and US) have started the season better than any time in a decade, Didier Cuche has done well in the speed events, a couple of guys from Sweden have been real surprises (heck, six Swedes scored points in the latest slalom that gave everyone else fits) and Norweigian Aksel Lund Svindal just keeps racking up those points and finishing races.

The Austrians' weakest result was the latest Alta Badia slalom, where not a single Austrian scored a point. (!) One reason may be that so many athletes are pushing so hard in slalom (and the courses are so difficult) that a lot of the top guys are skiing out, and the ones who play it safe aren't making the podium (and sometimes aren't even qualifying for a second run.) And in slalom, there's pretty tough competition for the podium--Rocca, Pallander, Ligety, Kostelic, and now what seems like a bunch of fast young guys from Sweden and Canada. I don't think Austria's Herbst is racing this year, which means that Raich is the only Austrian in the top ten in slalom points. Raich is great, but it looks like even he--Mr. Consistency--has to push it to the limit to reach the podium. He's been a DNF or DQ in three of his last WC slalom races. (And Schoenfelder, the only other Austrian in the top 16 in slalom rankings, has DNF'd two of his three WC slaloms this year.)

Even with all that, the Austrian men still lead in Nations Cup points by 700, and when you add the women, the combined Austrian team has over twice as many points as the next closest team, the USA. To put it in perspective, in this "bad" year for the Austrian men, the Austrian men have have racked up more points than the US men and women put together--in what's been a great year for the US, so far.

That kind of underlines what a powerhouse the Austrian team is: Even their bad year (so far) is better than everyone else's good year.

I do think the race for the individual overall title is still up in the air. Didier Cuche doesn't race slalom. Bode Miller doesn't finish slalom races. But if Miller can be Svindal at SG (Svindal's best event) and GS and Cuche can beat him in DH I don't think Svindal's finishing 20th in slaloms will keep him ahead for long. (Of course, he may just ski better and more consistently this year than anyone else, like he's been doing, and he certainly is ahead in the points today.)
post #7 of 16
For us in Austria its very cheerfull to see the Austrians not win every race anymore. But then if you look into the online newspapers and the comments people are pretty pissed off. I think there is too much presurre on the athletes in the Austrian team and internal competition. There are so many athletes from the 2nd or 3rd division pushing up, that top racers have to fear for their start position if they're not up to the podiums.

Be assured, Austria will at the end of the season have more podiums in the mens worldcup than any other nation, but I hope that finally the domination is broken.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
On the women's side, Austria will win the Nations' Cup by thousands of points probably for the next decade. Some of their racers are bagging podiums in all discipline (Hosp for example) and they are still in their late teens !

But on the men's side... well, the team isn't getting any younger while a lot of strong (America, Sweden, Norway, Canada, etc.) competitors are emerging from nowhere. People seem to forget that Austria, while now being the powerhouse, hasn't always been such a force. The Swiss, back in the days, used to dominate (85, they had something crazy like 2x more points than the Austrians). The French also had a big stretch where they were winning everything, as did the Italians.

I predict that if they don't start winning soon, heads will start to roll...
post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by extremecarver View Post
But then if you look into the online newspapers and the comments people are pretty pissed off. I think there is too much presurre on the athletes in the Austrian team and internal competition. There are so many athletes from the 2nd or 3rd division pushing up, that top racers have to fear for their start position if they're not up to the podiums.

Be assured, Austria will at the end of the season have more podiums in the mens worldcup than any other nation, but I hope that finally the domination is broken.

I agree with extremecarver. The Austrian athletes may well be experiencing something similar to what the US team experienced at the Olympics. They first have to live down the hype. Then they will get their heads back.

The US team was over-hyped, especially Bode. Marolt is still over-hyping with the "best in the world" crap. For us, Marolt should just shut up and manage things (which he is apparently good at) and build some depth in pipelines.

Turnalot
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfdean View Post
I don't think Austria's Herbst is racing this year,
He blew out his knee playing in a charity soccer match in the summer. He hopes to be back for Garmisch: http://www.ski2b.com/777-ecials_Even...98,r_16684.htm
Don't count out the Austrians - with their talent development system, they'll be back soon. Enjoy the unpredictability while it lasts .
post #11 of 16
Martin, I agree, the Austrians will be back, but with Bode's Super-G win in Hinterstoder today, and the 1,2 finish for Kildow and Mancuso today in France, the US team is right now, showing the way. And, it is about time, because we do have some outstanding athletes. Go USA.
post #12 of 16
"VE VILL B BAAAKK VITH A VENGENGE"-----------------
SIGNED
the "Kaiser "

or whoever is THE STEINBRUNNER OF the AUSTRIAN SKI FEDERATION
post #13 of 16
Since this is a US site and the topic is Austrian domination (slipping), just to illustrate the depth of the teams, I extracted the (rough, since there are ties), 101 rankings from the WC points race.

I realize that there is some kid who is 24/25'ish that may burst on the scene like gangbusters from the National Team ranks but when compared by age (date of birth), this is what is in the future:

DOB ..... AUS / USA

72............. 2 /-
73............. -/ -
74............. -/ -
75............. 1/ -
76............. 1 /-
77............. 1 /1
78............. 3 /1
79............. 2/ -
80............. 2 /1
81............. 3 /1
82............. 2 /1
83............. 1/ -
84............. - /2
85............. - /-
86............. 1 /-
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
I realize that there is some kid who is 24/25'ish that may burst on the scene like gangbusters from the National Team ranks but when compared by age (date of birth), this is what is in the future:

DOB ..... AUS / USA

72............. 2 /-
73............. -/ -
74............. -/ -
75............. 1/ -
76............. 1 /-
77............. 1 /1
78............. 3 /1
79............. 2/ -
80............. 2 /1
81............. 3 /1
82............. 2 /1
83............. 1/ -
84............. - /2
85............. - /-
86............. 1 /-
Ouch.
post #15 of 16
It got boring when Schumacher was winning virtually every F1 race. It's good to see other nations (not just the USA) getting good results too (7 or 8 countries getting a podium in as many races.

The excuses from the Austrian ski coach (i.e. Poor snow quality, jet lag for the US races) make me smile especially as the Austrian women's team are doing so well - although even the US girls are now getting regular podium places.

Hermann at least got a podium yesterday even after a bad fall and hurt shoulder during training.

Miller seems to be maturing a bit but even he didn't have a fantastic start to the season. It would be good for Svindal to get the overall title this year as unlike other big names (Maier, Raich, and Bode) he hasn't achieved that yet.

Nobody dominates for ever and competitive races are much better to watch. May the best skier win.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warp daddy View Post
"VE VILL B BAAAKK VITH A VENGENGE"-----------------
SIGNED
the "Kaiser "

or whoever is THE STEINBRUNNER OF the AUSTRIAN SKI FEDERATION
Jan 16, 2007

Dear All:

Franz Klammer will always be the "Kaiser".

CharlieP
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