United States Olympic skier Bode Miller has a long history of shrugging off the importance of medals and trophies, but his approach to the 2014 Sochi Olympics is different. His renewed focus couldn’t come at a better time for the US Alpine skiing team, which had won only one of 15 available medals in Alpine events headed into yesterday’s super-G.
A Fox News report quotes Miller as saying:
“It’s almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths. Some days, medals don’t matter, and today was one of the ones where it does.”
Miller has had a rough go of things lately.
His brother, Chelone, or “Chellie,” died of an apparent seizure in April. He was 29 years old and had hoped to make the US Alpine ski team for the 2014 Sochi Olympics himself.
He has also had to deal with knee surgery and the intense therapy needed to compete on the level needed for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. On top of all that, he got engaged.
All of this is the stuff that makes for Olympic legends.
Bode Miller came into the 2014 Sochi Olympics with five previous Olympic medals. According to a USA Today report, he had won two in Salt Lake City at the age of 24 and three in Vancouver at the age of 32. Miller also has 33 World Cup victories and two World Cup titles under his belt.
Going into the 2014 Sochi Olympic games, only two Americans – speed skaters Bonnie Blair (6) and Apolo Ohno (8) – had more Winter Games medals than Bode Miller.
Miller caught up to Blair by tying for third with Canada’s Jan Hudec and winning the bronze medal in the super-G this Sunday. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud took the gold with a time of 1 minute, 18.14 seconds. Miller’s US Alpine skiing teammate Andrew Weibrecht took the silver medal.
USA Today reports that Miller had this to say about Weibrecht:
“With the intensity he has and the athletic ability he has on his skis, I can’t say I’m surprised. I was on the podium with him last time (in Vancouver, when Miller took silver and Weibrecht took bronze in the super-G), and I was lucky to have snuck ahead of him last time. He got me this time.”
In addition to putting Miller in a tie for second most Winter Olympics medals by an American, Sunday’s bronze medal win also places Miller in second place for most medals in Alpine skiing, two medals behind Kjetil Andre Aamodt.
While Miller hasn’t caught Aamodt’s total medals, he did break another of the Norwegian Alpine great’s records – the record for oldest Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal. Aamodt was 34 when he won his last medal. Bode Miller is 36. When this was pointed out to him, he said:
“My wife and I were making some jokes about making some trophies for the weird, crazy records I have. This is going to be a great one. I’m going to have a picture of me with a great white beard on, with a cane maybe, all crinkly and old, a bunch of medals.”
When asked by an NBC reporter about the impact losing his brother had on his performance, the United States Olympic skier had less to say, tearing up and eventually walking away from the repeated personal questioning.
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