Bode Miller

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Bode Miller

Miller in February 2011
DisciplinesDownhill, Super-G,
Giant Slalom, Slalom,
ClubFranconia Ski Club /
Carrabassett Valley Academy
Born(1977-10-12) October 12, 1977 (age 35)
Easton, New Hampshire, United States
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
World Cup debutNovember 20, 1997
(age 20)
Teams4 – (19982010)
Medals5 (1 gold)
World Championships
Teams7 – (19992011)
Medals5 (4 gold)
World Cup
Seasons15th – (19982012)
Overall titles2 – (2005, 2008)
Discipline titles6 – (2 SG, 1 GS, 3 K)
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Bode Miller

Miller in February 2011
DisciplinesDownhill, Super-G,
Giant Slalom, Slalom,
ClubFranconia Ski Club /
Carrabassett Valley Academy
Born(1977-10-12) October 12, 1977 (age 35)
Easton, New Hampshire, United States
Height1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
World Cup debutNovember 20, 1997
(age 20)
Teams4 – (19982010)
Medals5 (1 gold)
World Championships
Teams7 – (19992011)
Medals5 (4 gold)
World Cup
Seasons15th – (19982012)
Overall titles2 – (2005, 2008)
Discipline titles6 – (2 SG, 1 GS, 3 K)

Samuel Bode Miller (/ˈbd/; born October 12, 1977) is a World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team. He is an Olympic and World Championship gold medalist, a two-time overall World Cup champion in 2005 and 2008, and can therefore be considered the most successful American alpine ski racer of all time. Miller is also considered one of the greatest World Cup racers of all time with 33 victories, and is one of five other elite members to win World Cup events in all five disciplines.[1]

In November 2004, Miller became the fifth and so far last man to win World Cup races in all five disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, Super-G, downhill, and combined − and today he is the only one with five or more victories in each discipline.

In 2008, Miller and Lindsey Vonn won the overall World Cup titles for the first U.S. sweep in 25 years.

He has won five medals in the Winter Olympics, the most of any U.S. skier − two silvers (giant slalom and combined) in Salt Lake City 2002, and a gold (super combined), a silver (Super G) and a bronze (downhill) in Vancouver 2010. Miller is one of five skiers who have won Olympic medals in four different disciplines, matching the feats of Kjetil André Aamodt and female racers Anja Pärson, Janica Kostelić, and Katja Seizinger.[2]

He has also won six discipline World Cups. On May 12, 2007, Miller left the U.S. Ski Team[3][4] and raced independently for his personally-financed "Team America" for two seasons. Miller departed the 2009 season before its completion and rejoined the U.S. Ski Team in October 2009.


Early years

Born in Easton, New Hampshire, to Jo Kenney and Woody Miller, he grew up in Franconia, a small community in the heart of New Hampshire's ski region that borders the Cannon Mountain ski area. His family, including older sister Kyla, younger sister Wren (short for Genesis Wren Bungo Windrushing Turtleheart), and younger brother Chelone (full name Nathaniel Kinsman Ever Chelone Skan),[5] lived on 450 acres (2 km²) of land in a forest, where his parents celebrated solstices, in a log cabin without electricity or indoor plumbing. He was homeschooled until the third grade, but after his parents divorced, he began attending public school.[citation needed] He applied for and got a scholarship to the Carrabassett Valley Academy, a ski racing academy in Maine. His mother's parents owned and started the Tamarack Tennis Camp, and he has played tennis and soccer since childhood.[citation needed]

Miller first gained widespread recognition when he won two silver medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in the giant slalom and combined events, though he had been known to skiing fans since he burst onto the World Cup scene as an 18-year-old in 1996. Miller is known for his reckless style, often risking crashes to increase his chances of winning a given race; in his book, Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun, Miller stated that his goal as a skier was not to win medals, but rather to ski "as fast as the natural universe will allow." In 2006, Miller also became famous for his reclusive (but outspoken) personality and his attention-getting statements.[citation needed]

Skiing career

1998–2001 seasons

Miller not only first appeared in the World Cup during the 1998 season but also represented the United States in the 1998 Nagano Olympics, competing in both of the technical disciplines (giant slalom and slalom). In 1999, he also competed in Super G (which is considered a speed discipline, not a technical one) and represented the U.S. in all three events at the World Ski Championships at Beaver Creek, with a best finish of 8th in slalom. He finally achieved a podium in a giant slalom at Val d'Isère on December 17, 2000 (placing third), but then only competed in Super-G at the 2001 World Ski Championships; he crashed during the downhill portion of the combined and tore knee ligaments, which ended his competition.[6]

2002 season

During this season, Miller began regularly competing in downhill, making him a five-event skier on the World Cup circuit, although he was still considered a technical specialist. Miller won his first World Cup ski race on December 29, 2001, taking the giant slalom at Val d'Isère, and then followed it up the next day with another win in the slalom at Madonna di Campiglio. He would go on to win two more slalom races in January 2002, along with a pair of silver medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in February, thus and established himself as the top racer on the U.S. Ski Team. This was his final season on Fischer skis, he switched to Rossignol following the season's completion.

2003 season

Miller challenged for the World Cup overall title but fell just short, finishing second to Stephan Eberharter of Austria. At the 2003 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Miller won three medals: gold in giant slalom and combined, and silver in Super-G. He also won two other giant slaloms during the season.

2004 season

In this season Miller won World Cup titles in two disciplines: giant slalom and combined, but placed 4th in the competition for the overall title. He won six World Cup races: three giant slaloms, two combineds and one slalom. After the season, Miller switched to Atomic skis.

2005 season

Miller won his first overall World Cup title, defeating Austrians Benjamin Raich and Hermann Maier.

Miller made history early in the season by winning at least one race in each of the four standard World Cup disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, super-G and downhill; by winning a slalom in Sestriere, Italy, on December 13, 2004, he joined Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg, who had been the first man to accomplish this feat in 1989. Miller accomplished the feat in less time than any previous skier, male or female; the victory was his sixth of the season after only ten races. At the 2005 World Championships in Bormio, Italy, he won two gold medals, in super-G and downhill. In the Bormio downhill portion of the combined, he lost a ski 16 seconds into the race, but decided to continue down the course nevertheless at speeds up to 83 km/h on one ski, before sliding out near the bottom nearly two minutes later.[7]

2006 season

Bode Miller 2006 Olympics
Bode Miller in the Giant slalom
at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy

Despite the hype surrounding Miller prior to the 2006 Winter Olympics, every one of Miller's five medal bids in the Turin Games fell short: he finished a disappointing 5th in the Downhill, was disqualified – while in first place at the time – during the second leg of the Combined event, received a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the Super G, tied for 6th in the giant slalom, and claimed another DNF after missing a gate in the Slalom. Nevertheless, Miller won two races during the season (a giant slalom and a Super G) and placed third for the season's overall World Cup title. At the 2006 U.S. National Championships following the World Cup season, Miller won the downhill and giant slalom titles. He switched to Head skis following the season's completion. Miller had prolotherapy treatments to the ligaments in his knee or knees in February 2006, along with other ski team members, Bryon Friedman and Eric Schlopy.

2007 season

Bode Miller had 4 first place finishes (two downhills and two Super Gs) in the early going of the 2007 World Cup. For the season, Miller finished 4th overall and won the Super G title. On May 12, 2007, Miller announced that he was leaving the U.S. Ski Team.[3][4] He followed the precedent set by slalom skier Kristina Koznick, who left the U.S. Ski Team following the 2000 season and raced the next six years for the U.S. as an independent.

2008 season

Bode Miller clinched his second overall championship at the World Cup finals in Bormio, Italy. Miller missed a chance to also win the season's downhill title when bad weather prevented the season's last race from being run. Miller got his first win of the season at the Stelvio downhill in Bormio in December. On January 13, Miller won for the second year in a row the legendary Wengen downhill, matching Phil Mahre as the most successful American skier with 27 World Cup victories. On January 20, he broke this record by winning the Hahnenkamm combined event at Kitzbühel. On January 27, he won the first super combined in his career in Chamonix and took the lead in the World Cup standings. On February 3, he won the super combined in Val d'Isère, France, and took the combined title. On March 1, Bode got his sixth win of the season at Kvitfjell, Norway, cementing his lead in the overall standings and closing to 5 points on Didier Cuche in downhill. At the end of this impressive season he was crowned overall champion.

2009 season

Miller responded to his World Cup success in 2008 with the worst season of his professional career, leading some to speculate that he may be "burned out."[8] Miller failed to win a race for the first time in eight years and had only two official podium finishes, both seconds in downhill, to show for his season. Miller suffered a torn ligament in his left ankle in a December fall at Beaver Creek, which may have been a factor in his performance.[8] He took a four-week break from competition in February and March, the first World Cup races that he had failed to start in three years, and missed the end of the World Cup season, although he still had a chance to win the season's downhill title.[9] He said that "the fire goes away after a while",[8] and he hinted at retirement.[9]

2010 season

The on-hill podium ceremony.
From left: Ivica Kostelić (silver), Bode Miller (gold) and Silvan Zurbriggen (bronze)

After returning to the U.S. Ski Team, Miller missed much of the early part of the 2010 season due to an ankle sprain during a volleyball game with other members of the team.[10] However, he returned by winning a World Cup super-combined event in Wengen on January 15, 2010, for his first victory in nearly two years.[11]

He made the US team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in late 2009, and he was selected to ski in all five events despite his lack of training.[12] In his first race, after several delays due to warm weather and poor snow conditions, Miller won a bronze medal in the Vancouver Olympics downhill, the first American on the downhill Olympic podium since Tommy Moe in 1994. Miller's bronze medal time was 1:54.40, nine hundredths of a second behind gold medalist Didier Défago, and two hundredths behind Aksel Lund Svindal, who took the silver; the time difference between the gold and bronze medals was the smallest in Olympic downhill history.[13] He then won a silver in the Super G, giving him four Olympic medals, more than any other American Alpine skier.[14] On February 21, 2010, he won his first Olympic gold medal in the super combined. After the downhill portion of the race, Miller was in seventh place, but finished the slalom portion third overall, giving him a total time of 2:44.92 to win the combined.[15] However, Miller then failed to finish either the giant slalom or slalom, and he took the rest of the season off due to continuing problems with his ankle injury.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18] 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.[19] He was even referred to as the "biggest bust in Olympic history" for his performance.[17] 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:

[The Olympic hype] is going to be a tough thing for me to manage. My actions are not always consistent. I'm super-mellow and laid back, but I'm always thinking and running 100,000 scenarios through my head. Sometimes I'm disciplined, but I like to be a total slacker, too. I party hard, but I train hard. People are going to try and figure me out and figure out my motivations, and it's going to be a circus.

[citation needed]

2010 Olympics success

Bode Miller in the downhill at the 2010 Winter Olympics

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.”[14] At the 2010 games, his coaches stated that he "helps inspire [them]," a very different attitude than four years previously.[20] 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."[20] 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."[20] He ended the 2010 Olympic Games as the most successful American skier and athlete overall.

General press reaction

Miller is generally unpopular with American reporters who cover skiing.[21] One referred to him in 2009 as "a tedious bore given to statements that smack of hypocrisy."[22] Another said that Miller's behavior had alienated him from "pretty much everyone but those who mindlessly celebrate rebels simply for their rebellion, however misplaced it might be."[23]

Miller's autobiography, Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun, co-written with his friend Jack McEnany, was published by Villard/Random House on October 18, 2005. Miller also became the first American alpine skier since Tommy Moe to endorse a video game when Bode Miller Alpine Racing was released for mobile phones on January 30, 2006, followed by Bode Miller Alpine Skiing for PlayStation 2 and Windows. In 2006 Miller was the subject of a biographical film, Flying Downhill, which looks at the people and the place he comes from, and where exactly each fits within his philosophy.

Endorsement and sponsors

Miller has used a variety of skis during his World Cup career. He originally started off on K2 skis, then raced on Fischer through the 2002 season. He switched to Rossignol for two seasons (2003 & 2004), then Atomic for the following two (2005 & 2006). In June 2006, he moved over to Head, along with Hermann Maier of Austria and Didier Cuche of Switzerland.

In May 2007, Miller broke away from the U.S. Ski Team and formed his independent "Team America" for the 2008 season. This allowed him more control of his training, equipment, staff, and sponsors. With fewer distractions, increased autonomy and responsibility, Miller improved his focus and won his second overall title. However, the next season (2009) was the worst of his career after he crashed hard in the Beaver Creek Downhill injuring his heel, and Miller folded Team America after its conclusion.

Other sports

Bode while playing for the Nashua Pride in 2007

In 2002, Miller won ABC Sports' Superstars competition, a televised event that pits athletes from different sports against one another in a series of athletic contests. In 2009, he competed in a Superstars team competition, which paired an athlete with a celebrity. Miller was paired with Paige Hemmis and they finished in second place.

On July 29, 2006, Miller signed a one-day contract to play baseball for the Nashua Pride (Canadian-American League). He went 0–2 with two strikeouts, however he did make an acrobatic catch in left field, which earned national attention by being featured by ESPN,[24] among others. The team said it would donate at least $5,000 from ticket sales for the game to Miller's Turtle Ridge Foundation, which will give the money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

On July 23, 2007, Miller again signed a one-day contract, to play the first three innings July 24, 2007, for the Nashua Pride, to raise money for charity.[25]

On June 3, 2010, Miller competed for a spot in the 2010 US Open through the new national playoff system introduced by the USTA. The winner of the men's and women's playoff championships will receive a wild-card entry into the Open qualifying tournament.[26][27] He lost 6–4, 6–2 to Erik Nelson-Kortland in an opening match at sectional playoffs in Hawaii.[28]

Personal life

Miller has a daughter named Dacey who was born in February 2008.[29]

Miller announced (via Twitter on September 18, 2012) his engagement to pro beach volleyball player and model Morgan Beck.[30] Beck, 25, played collegiate volleyball at California.[31] On 8th of October 2012 the two married in California.

World Cup results

Season standings

Super GDownhillCombined

Season titles

2004Giant Slalom

Individual races

20029 Dec 2001France Val d'Isère, FranceGiant Slalom
10 Dec 2001Italy Madonna di Campiglio, ItalySlalom
6 Jan 2002Switzerland Adelboden, SwitzerlandSlalom
22 Jan 2002Austria Schladming, AustriaSlalom
200322 Dec 2002Italy Alta Badia, ItalyGiant Slalom
4 Jan 2003Slovenia Kranjska Gora, SloveniaGiant Slalom
200426 Oct 2003Austria Sölden, AustriaGiant Slalom
22 Nov 2003United States Park City, USAGiant Slalom
11 Jan 2004France Chamonix, FranceCombined
25 Jan 2004Austria Kitzbühel, AustriaCombined
15 Feb 2004Austria St. Anton, AustriaSlalom
28 Feb 2004Slovenia Kranjska Gora, SloveniaGiant Slalom
200524 Oct 2004Austria Sölden, AustriaGiant Slalom
27 Nov 2004Canada Lake Louise, CanadaDownhill
28 Nov 2004Super-G
3 Dec 2004United States Beaver Creek, USADownhill
12 Dec 2004France Val d'Isère, FranceGiant Slalom
13 Dec 2004Italy Sestriere, ItalySlalom
11 Mar 2005Switzerland Lenzerheide, SwitzerlandSuper-G
20063 Dec 2005United States Beaver Creek, USAGiant Slalom
16 Mar 2006Sweden Åre, SwedenSuper-G
20071 Dec 2006United States Beaver Creek, USADownhill
15 Dec 2006Italy Val Gardena, ItalySuper-G
20 Dec 2006Austria Hinterstoder, AustriaSuper-G
13 Jan 2007Switzerland Wengen, SwitzerlandDownhill
200829 Dec 2007Italy Bormio, ItalyDownhill
13 Jan 2008Switzerland Wengen, SwitzerlandDownhill
20 Jan 2008Austria Kitzbühel, AustriaCombined
27 Jan 2008France Chamonix, FranceSuper Combined
3 Feb 2008France Val d'Isère, FranceSuper Combined
1 Mar 2008Norway Kvitfjell, NorwayDownhill
201015 Jan 2010Switzerland Wengen, SwitzerlandSuper Combined
20122 Dec 2011United States Beaver Creek, USADownhill


  1. ^ Futterman, Matthew (February 22, 2010). "Bode Miller Wins Gold in Super Combined". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 14, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Miller hat Olympiamedaillen in vier Disziplinen". ORF (Austria). 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  3. ^ a b Bode Miller quits U. S. ski team[dead link]
  4. ^ a b Bode Miller quits US ski team[dead link]
  5. ^ "Cline, Andrew. "Bode Miller's Life Lesson" American Spectator, February 23, 2010. Accessed on March 1, 2010.". 
  6. ^ "Bode Miller biography". US Ski Team. 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  7. ^ "Bode miller one ski 2005". Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  8. ^ a b c Tony Chamberlain, Vonn and Miller taking divergent trails, Boston Globe, Feb. 26, 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Miller hints at retirement as season ends",, March 4, 2009.
  10. ^ "Bode Miller sprains ankle playing volleyball, expected to ski next week after skipping GS". Associated Press. 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  11. ^ Knoblauch, Austin (January 15, 2010). "Bode Miller earns first victory in nearly two years". Olympics Blog. LA Times. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  12. ^ "Bode Miller To Race All 5 Events At Olympics". Associated Press. WBZ-TV. 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-02-15. [dead link]
  13. ^ Meyer, John (February 15, 2010). "Bode Miller races to bronze medal in men's downhill". Denver Post. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  14. ^ a b Dave Scanlon (2010-02-20). "Miller Returns From Hiatus to Set U.S. Olympic Medal Record". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  15. ^ "Bode Miller finally wins Olympic gold". 2010-02-21. 
  16. ^ "Bode Miller decides to skip World Cup finals". Associated Press. 2010-03-09. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  17. ^ a b Gwen Knapp (2006-02-26). "BODE MILLER: He's the biggest bust in Olympic history". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  18. ^ "Skiing drunk 'not easy,' Bode says – Winter Olympics". MSNBC. 2006-01-10. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  19. ^ Jenkins, Sally. "Only Medal For Bode Is Fool's Gold", Washington Post, Feb. 25, 2006. Retrieved Feb. 9, 2008.
  20. ^ a b c Svrluga, Barry (2010-02-21). "American Bode Miller wins gold in men's super combined event at Vancouver Olympics". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  21. ^ John Canzano (Feb. 15, 2010). "When it comes to Bode Miller, hiss away America". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  22. ^ Philip Hersh, "More mumbo-jumbo, no medals for Bode Miller". Chicago Tribune, Feb. 15, 2009.
  23. ^ John Meyer, "Bode has become irrelevant – does anybody care?". Denver Post, Feb. 13, 2009.
  24. ^ "Miller goes from black diamond to baseball diamond – Minor Leagues – ESPN". 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  25. ^ Larry Brown %BloggerTitle% (2007-07-23). "Bode Miller's Playing Minor League Baseball". Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  26. ^ Now Serving, Bode Miller, The New York Times. Published January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  27. ^ Ford, Bonnie D. Skier Bode Miller to vie for U.S. Open qualifying spot, ESPN. Published January 26, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ Bode Miller Announces He Has Daughter, February 21, 2009
  30. ^ [2], September 19, 2012
  31. ^ "Morgan Beck". California Golden Bears athletics. Retrieved October 1, 2012. 

External links