Bode Miller

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Bode Miller : biography

12 October 1977 –

2011 season

Miller followed his Olympic success with rather average season, but still managed to finish Top 3 on three occasions. He was third at the city event in Munich, second to Didier Cuche at Kitzbuehel’s downhill and third in Super-G at Hinterstoder. He started World Championships in Ga-Pa with typical Bode-like fashion at Super-G race. He was leading the field despite losing a pole midway through the course, however he lost his balance coming out of a bend at the bottom, slowed down and stood up as he crossed the finish line on 12th position.

2012 season

Miller earned 33rd World Cup win of his career with a downhill victory in Beaver Creek. He topped young Swiss sensation Beat Feuz with four hundredths of a second. He also managed to finish second in Super-G at Val Gardena, third in super-combined event in Wengen and second in downhill race in Chamonix, where he was one hundredth of a second behind Klaus Kroell.

2013 season

After undergoing a knee surgery in spring 2012, Bode decided not to rush his comeback to the slopes and announced in January 2013 that he would skip the entire season to ensure a completely healthy run for his fifth Winter Olympic Games at Sochi the following year.

Publicity, press and promotions

2002 Olympics fame

Miller’s fame was partly spawned by his 2002 Winter Olympics slalom performance. He had already won two silver medals and was in line for a third when he missed a gate. Instead of stopping, he hiked back up the course to retry the gate and finish – a rare, mostly symbolic act of dedication in a sport where a hundredth of a second can separate gold from bronze.

2006 Olympics controversy

The good feeling generated by Miller’s 2002 Olympic performance was quickly dissipated in 2006. On the program 60 Minutes, in January 2006, Miller described the act of skiing "wasted" and compared it to lawlessly driving while intoxicated. Throughout the Olympics, Miller said, "I’m just trying to ski in a way that’s exciting for me." In an interview shortly after his last race, he said that it had "been an awesome two weeks," and that he "got to party and socialize at an Olympic level." After an unapologetic Miller interview with Tom Brokaw, Bob Costas concluded in a primetime editorial that Miller might finally get what he wanted: to be unceremoniously forgotten. Miller received negative coverage in the American and international media; editorials focused on his attitude of simply not caring about the Olympics or about his performance.

Many perceived his "party at an Olympic level" attitude as a violation of the "Olympic Spirit." Nike’s 2006 advertising campaign urged consumers to "Join Bode." This prompted Washington Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins to ask, "Where? At the bar?" in response to his well-publicized nights on the town in Sestriere.Jenkins, Sally. , Washington Post, Feb 25, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2008. He was even referred to as the "biggest bust in Olympic history" for his performance. Others have argued that the blame for Miller’s crash-and-burn publicity should be shared between himself, his PR people, and his manager. The theory is that they collectively made Miller available for a veritable media blitz in the months leading up to the Olympics, which was bound to backfire without Miller’s commitment to perform. Miller himself said:

2010 Olympics success

Miller’s success in the 2010 Olympic Games has been contrasted with his 2006 results. Miller’s explanation for his belated success was simple: "Most likely it’s because I decided that’s what I wanted to do.” At the 2010 games, his coaches stated that he "helps inspire [them]," a very different attitude than four years previously. Miller himself said that the difference was that in 2006, his role as "poster boy" for the Olympics, after the corruption scandals associated with the 2002 Winter Olympics (bid scandal and figure skating scandal), was "the absolute thing I despise the most in the world" and "really draining on my inspiration, my level of passion." Ultimately, the publicity "had been happening for a year, and it was just too much." By contrast, in 2010, he noted that he was not so proud of the medals themselves but of the "absolutely amazing" feeling when "you … magically ski at your absolute best." He ended the 2010 Olympic Games as the most successful American skier and athlete overall.