|Originally posted by Learner:
As far as tail race turns to gain speed the great winners have always launch around the turn using the tail at some point in the turn. Bode has more problem here than most due to re-balance but his techniques is so good otherwise that as long as he can maintain balance he is hard to beat.
Yes, Bode is a lot of fun to watch, I always root for him to ski well and win.
But Bode has proven to be the easiest to beat of the top skiers on the WC, usually all it takes is a stand up run, as he so frequently beats himself.
So, I am uncertain by what criteria one could state that Bode’s "technique is so good"? By World Cup results standards? By winning percentage? By consistently turning in high level performances? By USST Coaching publications on technical components of Alpine skiing? I do not see support by any of these criteria.
More accurate might be: Bode can be fast enough to win an occasional race, in spite of his technical flaws which he sometimes overcomes because his athletic ability is so good.
Maybe WC is in a talent lull right now that lulls us into thinking Bode is better than he really is. Lets compare Bode's record to some true technicians of the sport.
Bode finishes only 37% of his SL/GS specialty events. On easier courses when he makes few mistakes he can be fast, and might even win. But his SL/GS win rate is 6% (his all WC win rate is 4%). Bode podiums SL/GS top-3 in only 17% of his races.
Not bad results you say?
Stenmark, a SL/GS guy (as Bode really is), finished 93% of his races, and stood on the podium in the top-3 in 67% of them, (almost twice as often as Bode finishes), and his 86 wins represent an amazing 37% of his starts (same as Bode’s finish rate).
Tomba, a SL/GS guy (like Bode), finished 88% of his races, and stood on the podium in the top-3 in 46% of them (10% more often than Bode finishes), and his 44 wins were 26% of his starts (4 x Bode’s).
Does anyone think Bode’s “technique is so good” he will win 38 of his next 79 SL/GS events (48%) to rate comparison to Tomba who’s technique really was “so good”, since he mathematically cannot win 80 of his next 62 to warrant any
comparison to Stenmark, the ultimate technician?
Not fair, these guys are too good? Take Michael Von Gruenigen, he finished 93% of his 189 races, won 12% of them, podium’s 25% of the time in top-3. Andre Kjetil Ammodt, an all-event skier, he finished 93% of his 378 races.
At the Lillehammer World Cup Finals Bode's athleticism couldn't overcome the balance compromises for his skiing with his arms/hands way out behind his body. His season's WC SL results are a testimony to his weak stance fundamentals. Those very attributes of sound foundational stance are very evident in the other WC SL skiers that have been consistent top finishers all season.
It is important to recognize that there are very few athletes of the level that could ever hang on and ski as fast as Bode with such fundamental stance flaws. But this issue has been reflected by his inconsistency and inability to finish races over the years. Just imagine what he could accomplish by skiing even semi-balanced vs. constantly un-balanced & re-balancing. Rather than “good technique” I think it is rather a case of his tremendous athletic ability allowing him to exploit "Bode's" technique to occasionally reap high rewards, but at high risk and inconsistency.
Very little of what he does reflects "good technique" that I would offer as a model to younger racers. WC racers ski with a power-to-weight ratio that allows them the luxury of exceeding limits the rest of the world skis under. Using the most extreme of these images as a model for young racers defies common sense. I have expressed before that I feel the WC women who ski with technical accuracy and precision (lacking the pure horsepower of the men), present far better images for young racers to use as technical models.
Is it better to coach racers to "go for it" allowing only the most athletic to excel, or coach a path that builds a foundation of solid basics with which any racers can first learn to finish the course with and then learn to lean on that foundation for more speed as the racer grows and gets stronger? A big philosophical dilemma? I do not think so.
The point here is, until Bode learns to finish, either by becoming technically more solid and consistent (or tactically more mature), his WC stats will never support any legacy that “his technique is so good”. Bode will always be known as a great athlete that occasionally put a couple fun-to-watch runs together for a big win. Maybe for pure entertainment factor that is all that count’s, but it does not support his unique “technique” as what to teach the kids and subvert their development.