Thursday, December 15, 2005

A brief commentary on Bode.
The most recent story in the ski press about defending overall World Cup champion, Bode Miller, is about how the frustration he is experiencing communicating his ideas about reforms to the sport with its organizing body, the FIS.
His ideas include taking another look at what drugs should be legal and illegal, as well as addressing the top-heavy and FIS dictated prize money in the sport. His suggestions, though not outrightly, hint at an athletes union.
The idea is not novel in sport and ski racing could benefit from such organization. If Miller is really serious about it though, he should get some of the other top racers behind him and conduct a constructive conversation with organizers.
Because he is the outspoken athlete, and he's not afraid to speak his mind, he has to be careful. In the past few weeks the media has started using negative description in their stories about Miller. They say he is "lashing out", and describe his semi-tantrum at the finish of a race when officials asked him to walk around fencing to his RV rather than cut straight through.
If Miller wants to affect change he needs to come off as being more positive, and slightly less acerbic.
Part of the fault lies with the media for not fully understanding Miller himself; his style of communication and pattern of thought is different. It shouldn't excuse him from rude comments, but a balance needs to be struck. The media right now is blowing his comments and actions slightly out of proportion.

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