Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Will Bode Miller Compete Through 2018?

A Boston Blickbild Exclusive

That is the question the whole ski world has been asking since Miller recently signed a 4-year contract with the racing equipment firm Dainese. His fans are cheering and his detractors are ready to jump off the nearest cliff. We would normally avoid this story like we would the Sahara Desert in summer because it is old news that the others have already reported. But we have our own unique perspective on this story. We were unable to interview Bode, but one of our intrepid reporters scored an interview with a US ski blogger who wishes to be called George N. Let's find out what he has to say. 

BB: What is the story? Is Bode really going to compete all the way through 2018?
George: He tweeted that we were all crazy for thinking that. But Bode just seems to get better with age.
BB: He will be 40 at the 2018 Olympics. Do you really think that he has a chance to win a medal at that age?
George: You never know with Bode. He only won a shared bronze medal in Sochi. He would have had a gold medal in the Sochi Super-G event, but Kjetil Jansrud stole it from him. 
BB:  Kjetil didn't steal anyone's gold medal. He won it fair and square by having the fastest time.
George: I disagree. Bode could have been on a Wheaties box if it wasn't for Kjetil Jansrud. I bet that Kjetil Jansrud's picture is on boxes of whatever cereal or moose meat that they eat for breakfast in Norway. 
BB: Getting back to our point, Bode competing until 2018 is not that far-fetched. Lindsey Vonn stated her intention of competing through the 2018 season.
George: That is correct. She really wants another Olympic gold medal before she retires.
BB: Suppose that both Lindsey and Bode are still healthy in 2018 but don't win any medals. Do you think that they will compete until 2022?
George: That is always a possibility. I know that Lindsey wants to compete until she breaks Ingemar Stenmark's record of 86 World Cup wins. If she does win a gold medal in 2022, she could set the record for oldest female skier to win one. Bode could also break Mario Matt's record for the oldest male skier to win an Olympic gold medal.
BB: Now let's take this even further. If neither of them win gold medals in 2018 or 2022, what is the possibility of them competing at the 2026 or even 2030 Olympics?
George: Anything is possible. Bode will be 48 in 2026 and 52 in 2030, but they say that 50 is the new 30. He would really be pushing the boundaries of what an older athlete can do. We all know how Bode loves pushing boundaries.
BB: That is true. Hubertus von Hohenlohe has competed at both the World Championships and Olympics in his 50s. He is in great shape for a 55-year-old.
George: I never thought of Hubertus von Hohenlohe becoming Bode's role model, but anything is possible with Bode.
BB: Do you think that the US Ski Team will keep Bode on the team when he is in his 40s and 50s?
George: Sweden kept Patryk Jaerbyn, who was world class in his early 40s. I think that the US Ski Team will keep Bode as long as he has good results.
BB: Speaking of results, will Bode keep going until he wins the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel? He really wanted to win that race last season to establish his legacy, but was beaten by Hannes Reichelt and Aksel Lund Svindal. 
George: Bode could theoretically continue until he wins in Kitzbuehel. It may take a few years, but he could eventually do it. Then he could have the record as the oldest ski racer to win there. But please don't mention Hannes Reichelt's name anymore. It brings back the horror of finishing third in a race that  Bode really wanted to win.
BB: Any other racer would be thrilled with a podium in Kitzbuehel and wouldn't think that 3rd place is a horror. (short pause) Let's imagine that the US Ski Team doesn't want a racer in his 40s or 50s on the team because of the younger athletes coming up. Will Bode still try to compete at a future Olympics or in the World Cup until he wins in Kitzbuehel?
George: That is a very good question. He could potentially revive his short-lived Team America as a tour for elderly ski racers. Racers who don't feel like retiring could join this alternate tour. Or racers who don't win an Olympic medal could join until they win one.
BB: Would the new version of Team America compete in its own races or in the World Cup?
George: Hopefully in the World Cup and other FIS races. After all, racers need FIS points to be eligible to compete in the Olympics.
BB: If an athlete from another country wants to keep competing until well past his or her prime, would he or she also be eligible for Team America?
George: I don't think that Bode has worked out the specifics yet. But I would imagine so.
BB: Would Team America be like Team Freedonia, which was a team of Mafia enforcers who went to the Sochi Olympics? (see this story)
George: From what I understood, the Freedonian team was a bunch of Mafia hit men pretending to be ski racers. I also saw on the news that Freedonia is not a real country. Team America would be real athletes from a real country.
BB: Could athletes from other countries who are older and still world class be allowed to join Team America? Or would there be a residency or citizenship requirement? How would the International Olympic Committee feel about having two US teams at the Olympics or would the Team America athletes have to compete in the Senior Olympics?
George: My goodness, so many questions! You are really getting ahead of yourself.  Bode never came out and said that he wants to compete until 2018 and beyond. You are trying to create a sensational story out of a contract with an equipment manufacturer.
BB: I am part of the most intrepid reporting team in the business and would be remiss in my duties if I didn't give our readers the full story. 
George: Here is the full story. Nobody knows how long Bode will keep competing, not even Bode. Who knows if he will be in the 2018, 2022, 2026, or even 2030 Olympics? He probably doesn't even know what his wife is cooking for dinner tonight.
BB: So our readers are just as uninformed as they were before reading this interview. You certainly have been one of our least informative interview subjects and will be at the bottom of any future interview lists. We will just have to wait and see what Bode decides to do. And that concludes another Boston Blickbild exclusive interview.

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