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» One Touch Football - Archive » Sport » Does Bode Miller need a national anthem now?

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Author Topic: Does Bode Miller need a national anthem now?
Rogin the Armchair fan
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Bode Miller splits from the US ski team to race as an independent

Does the US team pick who represents them at the World Championships and Olympics? If so, can Bode still participate in events like that?

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Janik
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Not at the Olympics. Don't know the FIS rules on the World Championship, but I would guess he can't compete in those, either.
I presume entry to the Worlds and Olympics was why Marc Girardelli competed for Luxembourg throughout his career, rather than as an indepedant (Girardelli was really Austrian, but had fallen out with their ski federation in his teens).

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Rogin the Armchair fan
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That's superb. So if Bode really wanted to, he could ski for Qatar in the Winter Olympics?
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Rogin the Armchair fan
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And having decided to race as an "independent",
Bode wins World Cup for the second time.

Bit of a kick in the crampons for the US team, this, I guess. And indeed all national team set-ups. I wonder if more top skiers will look at this for the future and think, hey, maybe I'd be better off competing on my own.

This could lead to the traditional set-up of FIS ski-ing - where most racers compete as part of a national team set-up - moving to a set-up where "teams" are established around corporate sponsors and/or based around the star performers themselves. This is an evolution that F1, motorcycling and the TdF have all gone through, to varying extents, in the past.

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Inca
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I'll give independent Bode the salute he deserves:

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Reed
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Why should Bode Miller or anyone else give a shit what a bunch of rich assholes in blue blazers in Aspen think of him.

I don't really see the point of National Teams in non-team sports. I support the USA in team sports that I like (soccer, hockey, baseball) because I like supporting the home team. But in individual sports, I find it hard to care where they're from (unless it's near where I'm from).

I don't have a problem with Bode Miller. The "Skiing Establishment," and the media that pays attention to skiing once every four years in this country seems to have a massive self-righteous pole so far up their collective as that they're almost choaking on it. Skiing is a very dangerous, demanding sport. In the downhill and super-G, it's absolutely insane. If a man wants to tie one on before flinging himself down a mountain at unsafe speeds, nobody should judge him for that. Good for him for giving those tossers the old brown eye.

And I don't have a problem with an athlete caring more about the sponsors that put food on his table than the blazers that insist that he or she compete "for their Country." What sort of backward fucked-up countries still think athletic success correlates to national prosperity or merit? (There's currently a bit of sportstalk radio debate going on here about Andy Roddick's decision to skip the olympics to play in the Legg Mason).

I think footballers should compete for their country, if possible, because it's the highest level of their game and they should have some professional pride in wanting to compete at the highest level. Ice hockey and baseball could be that way too, so I want to see the best players in the olympics or some other proper world cup.

But in a lot of sports, like skiing or tennis, the olympics are really just another event on the pro tour that just happen to have a bigger world-wide audience. If they don't find it compelling, for whatever reason, why should anyone criticize that?

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Rogin the Armchair fan
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Reed, I get where you're coming from, but I think the argument is around the fact that for the main part ski-ing remains one of the few "pro" sports where entry into to the sport for juniors, and in particular funding and access to the best coaches, support staff, etc, is organised around the "national" teams (Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, Sweden, Norway, the US, etc). Pro cycling was, until the early 80s, similarly set up, but then it disintegrated (or shall we say reorganised) into corporate sponsored teams, as with now.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with pro ski-ing, as I said. Will "Team Bode" continue to keep their man at the top of the heap in the face of competition from "Team Austria", and if so, will "Team Austria" break up into "Team Casino Salzburg", etc? Is the development of junior athletes better served by national associations or corporate teams?

Ski-ing, as I said, is kind of the last place in world pro sport where the old Olympic ideal has kind of kept a foothold.

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Croute au fromage et oeuf au plat
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Out next superstar, Lara Gut, is heading that way, her father who is her manager is not particulary keen to join the Swiss setup and she is a free-spirit a la Miller. Another one who might consider that is Miller's good mate on the circuit, Didier Cuche who fell victim of the Swiss federation in the last Super G race of the season. All he needed was a top 15 finish, he ended 16th, because another Swiss skier was not told to take it easy and ended up 15th, thus depriving Cuche of the Super G crown...
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Inca
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Bode Miller can do whatever he wants. It just seems that if he was a flavor of ice cream, he'd be pralines and dick.
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Reed
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Rogin, that's a good point about the national system. But if that's the case, there ought to be explicit contracts stating exactly what the young athlete's obligations will be down the road if they accept that support.

Also, in the US, the olympic teams don't get any government support. It all comes from sponsors, so when an athlete spurns the national program for his sponsors, he/she is really just picking to advertise one brand of string, washing powder, or whatever, instead of another.

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ursus arctos
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It's an interesting question. In Europe at least, young Alpine skiers from the age of 5 or so on are generally members of local clubs that can be extremely well organised and professional sponsored (at the older levels), the best kids get involved in the national set-up when they are about 16, but if national teams disapeared at the senior level, one could see some combination of "super" junior teams (perhaps regionally based) and professional teams filling the gap. That is essentially what has happened in US athletics/track and field, with the evolution of high level "track clubs" that operate alongside the high school and university programs that characterise US sport. The same is true of swimming, both in the US and Europe (some European athletics programs also follow the US model).

At the very top, of course, "privateers" like Miller can can easily justify a tennis-like entourage of coach, physio, etc., and are actually probably better off outside of a "team" structure (I bet Cuche thinks that this morning). It would be interesting to know if Miller's coach ever gets to set gates (one advantage of being in a national team), but that is less important in his strongest disciplines.

Abolishing national teams would actually increase the quality of the competition, as I am fairly certain that the best Swiss or Austrian not to make the team is better than say the second Briton or.third Croatian who are racing. There would be a crunch when it comes to worlds and the Olympics and Worlds, but cycling has dealt with that rather successfully, and one could even imagine a series of national "trials" such as the ones the US uses in athletics and swimming.

It's too bad that the weather got warm this week. The Bormio downhill is a great spectacle, and well known to us because it is where my family skies most often (we were actually there last weekend, and saw them beginning to prepare the course). Miller's frustration at its cancellation is quite understandable.

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Reed
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What do you mean "set the gates?" Don't the race officials do that?
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ursus arctos
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At World Cup races, responsibility for setting the gates is rotated among national coaches (i.e., the Austrian coach will set the gates for first run of the slalom and the Italian coach the second, with others doing the GS, Super-G, etc).
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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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quote:
Pro cycling was, until the early 80s, similarly set up, but then it disintegrated (or shall we say reorganised) into corporate sponsored teams, as with now.

Uh, not really. Trade teams have always dominated road cycling - excepting the World Championships - apart from a brief period in the forties and fifties when the Tour De France - and very few other races - was organised on national team lines...
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