Originally Posted by m_piet
I don't get it either and I'm an American.
I think it has something to do with most Americans believing that IF Bode had stayed in his bus or room during the nights of the 2006 Winter Olympics (instead of a little
), then he would have won like 10 Olympic Gold medals, maybe 15. Then the US would have won the Olympics. So, it's Bode's fault that we lost the Olympics - or something equally as stupid as that.
I think that's part of it, but I think that most of the bad blood between the U.S. sports media (and thus the U.S. sports "fans") is that Bode rebels against the whole concept of "team" - at least from a superficial view. The media likes to follow "teams" if the word "team" appears in the name of the sporting organization. It's the U.S. Ski Team,
so Bode needs to play be team rules.
So few in the U.S. media understand that alpine ski racing is, by and large, a solo endeavor. Sure, teams train and travel together, and share the same coaching staff, but the team element isn't usually part of the sport in the end.
Bode is a bit of a loner, and introvert - has been for most of this life. And he recognizes this and works in his own idiom. Thing is, the higher-ups at U.S. Skiing are all about the appearance of a "team," so it's their way, or the highway. During the winter of 2006, Bode rebelled against this on the big stage, perhaps to illustrate his idiosyncrasies. And it's not like he skied poorly: he was in the hunt in both the DH and SG.
But the media being the media, they played up Bode's partying ways - perhaps trying to find the next Alberto Tomba (whose partying almost always was a front, meant to portray a playboy image that never really existed). And what did the media get? A guy who was really out partying, devil could care what the outcome was.
And the media played this up as the "failure of the U.S. Ski Team."
And the U.S. Ski Team took Bode's bus away for the 2006-07 season. This didn't work for him, so he proposed a Tomba-esque system (still being a USST member, albeit with his own coaching staff, bus, etc.), and the USST balked - "our way, or the highway."
Now Bode is on "the highway" - and excelling. His work ethic is strong, and it's paying dividends for him and his sponsors.
But are the U.S. media covering this? No. It's not an Olympic year, so NBC's FIS skiing coverage is complete for the year. Sure, the New York Times
and USA Today
will carry little blurbs about skiing, buried in the sports section with the fishing report, but that's all. And the local sports shows won't show a thing (especially now that George Michael's Sports Machine
is gone - he'd show top performances in World Cup skiing fairly often).
And the average U.S. sports "fan" gets all of their knowledge from TV and the newspaper. During the winter, they show NFL, NHL, NCAA basketball, golf, and made-for-TV ice capades. But no skiing. Nada.
So no real clarification of who Bode is.
Now back to the "team" thing. The sporting ideal (and the work ideal, more often than not) is the "team ethic." The old cliché "there's no 'I' in 'team'" is dragged out in front of our youth, in front of ambitious young workers, et al. Bode is an "I" on the surface (regardless of the fact that he has coaches, techs, agents, and whatnot, all of whom Bode acknowledges are indispensable), and thus is "not an ideal role model."
Whatever. He still accounts for almost a third of the USA's Nation's Cup points.