Ski Team names a new VP of athletics
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, goes the old cliché.
After the ups and downs for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team at the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, it decided to get going in a big way. The result of that was announced this week as Luke Bodensteiner was named the new vice president of Athletics.
According to Bodensteiner, after the last Winter Games the team decided there were some things that needed to be looked at and started doing just that immediately.
"We learned a lot at the Olympics," Bodensteiner said. "In the past, we hadn’t done a giant analysis of what went right and what went wrong."
Before Bodensteiner’s position was created, the team had left much of the direction of each of the disciplines in the hands of the specific sport directors. After Turin, he said that accountability was assessed all the way down the organization and it was decided to focus on high performance services, including sport education, sport science and sports medicine for all disciplines.
"It helped us assess a lot of things," he said.
In March, Bodensteiner, who resides in Heber, was promoted to the position of associate athletic director for high performance. This was a gradual stepping stone into his new position, he explained. He will continue to focus on high performance services and how they can be used to enhance each of the skiing and snowboarding disciplines. He will work directly with the sport directors to form a unified strategic plan to integrate these services.
"We are focused on the value and efficiency which we can bring in these things," Bodensteiner said.
Prior to this year’s promotions, Bodensteiner had spent most of his time in the Ski Team’s Nordic department — first as an athlete who competed in both the 1992 and 1994 Olympics and later as the cross-country manager beginning in 1997 and Nordic director in 2001. Despite his Nordic background, Bodensteiner said he is very familiar with all of the disciplines.
"I have a good handle on all of the sports and relationships with the staff," he said. "So it’s been a smooth transition."
He admits that he is not an expert on anything besides Nordic skiing, but that kind of knowledge is only necessary for the sport directors who guide the programs on a daily basis.
Since the leadership structure change came largely as a result of the Turin Games, it comes as no surprise that much of Bodensteiner’s focus will be on 2010 Games and beyond. After taking a look at the operating systems of the organization, he said that the team saw many areas of opportunity. From there, they created a long-term plan based on what the team needed to go after more medals in the next Olympics.
Bodensteiner said his responsibilities will also include looking at new sports on the horizon. Some sports that will likely soon be a part of the Olympic roster after the Vancouver Games include women’s ski jumping, women’s halfpipe, slopestyle skiing and snowboarding and Alpine team competition.
"As they become more important, they will be added," Bodensteiner said. "These changes have a pretty dramatic effect on the organization."
But for now, Bodensteiner will be specifically focused on success in Vancouver. He is currently assessing which sports will affect the greatest medal opportunities and then using that analysis to drive the team’s strategies. He will over see what each discipline is doing and ensure they are supporting the team’s priorities and goals.
"Beyond the day-to-day, I make sure they are on target and well supported," he said
He will also head some "top secret" projects designed to give the team an edge in Vancouver. He can divulge that the projects are focused in the area of high performance enhancements, small research and technology. He said these projects are exclusive to the American team.
"Everywhere in the world, sports get more sophisticated and require more resources," Bodensteiner said. "We have our plan for 2010 locked down."
He said that this is an exciting time for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team as it looks forward to great result in Vancouver.
Once the 2010 Games are finished, Bodensteiner will then focus on investments for the next two Olympic Winter Games.
"We have to stop every four years and develop a sustainable plan for the next four years," he said.
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