Originally Posted by Richie-Rich
Bode and Rahlves leave team, team lacks leadership, Bode lacks people unforgivingly riding him hard and keeping him in a strict structured program. As a result all suffer, no one does good. Has to be!
I'm not sure about that. First, on the leadership thing, I think the others on the USST are doing better than when Rahlves and Miller were there as top dogs: There's way more depth, and even beyond Ligety, several guys (Sullivan, Weibrecht, maybe even Nyman) showing stronger results so far than last year.
You may be right about Miller, but he's actually shown improvement so far in slalom and combined and in being able to finish races--yesterday's GS hike notwithstanding; even Raich has hiked this season. Miller had a headwind in the first downhill and finished right with the other top guys who had a similar headwind. Miller hip checked on the second downhill (after nearly falling out of the start when a pole slipped) and still finished only 0.38 seconds back. He was fifth in the first GS (after a second run that was the second fastest) and made a mistake and had to hike in the second GS race. He was fourth in the combined this year, after not finishing a single combined last year.
So it looks to me like Miller (1) is on track in DH and can be competitive; (2) can be on the podium in GS; (3) is better (so far) this year in combined and slalom than he was last year.
I don't know why, though, he's doing poorly in SG. It was his best event last year, when he won the Super-G cup. Maybe his SG setup isn't dialed in. Or maybe he hasn't trained as much in Super-G because it's his "good" event. Or maybe something else.
The season is still young. As a Miller fan, I'd prefer to think he's skiing well, with flashes of brilliance, but just hasn't put down enough mistake-free runs for the podium, and that his Super-G results are the anomaly. There is, of course, an opposite argument. He's certainly far less dominant in the speed events than he's been in the last few years, and far less dominant in GS than he's typically begun the season.
Still, I'm not sure the departure from the USST hurt Bode. Stephan Eberharter (as I understand it from hearsay) was quite disaffected by and alienated from the Austrian coaching staff and system and decided to retire the year after he won the overall in the 2003-2004 season. US Ski racers, in recent times, who got top honors (Tommy Moe, Darron Rahlves) have generally retired early.
Miller is doing it his way, and if he were still chafing under the system and rules at the USST, in addition with his frustration at the results so far, he might have additional frustrations with how he was being coached and trained. As an independant, that's on him this year.
All that said, I suspect that it does somewhat change the coaching dynamics when, instead of taking "orders" from the USST coaching staff (in quotes because Bode's prior coaches have discussed how that has never worked with Miller) he is, in fact, discussing "suggestions" with a coach who his is employee, and over whom Miller has hiring and firing ability.