Alpine skiing fans are likely to see a different Bode Miller this season.
Miller, 35, now weighs about 200 pounds, some 20 pounds lighter than in recent years, his troublesome left knee feels great and he won’t be so go-for-broke in his skiing, according to The Associated Press.
”I have a lot less strain on my knee,” he told the AP. ”It allows me to ski a different tactic, a different style. I’m really psyched to give it a try, to reset some things and win some races.”
Miller had microfracture surgery on his left knee in spring 2012 and missed all of last season. He is training in New Zealand and told the AP he expects to be ready for this season’s World Cup opener in Soelden, Austria, in October, though.
It’s all part of preparation for the Sochi Olympics in February, which would be Miller’s fifth Olympics. He’s the most decorated active U.S. Winter Olympian with five medals. He won silver in the giant slalom and combined in 2002 and, in 2010, won gold (super combined), silver (super-G) and bronze (downhill).
Miller could make a lot of history in Sochi. He can become the first U.S. Alpine skier to make five Olympic teams (A.J. Kitt made four). He would also be the oldest U.S. Olympic Alpine skier ever (currently held by Erik Schlopy, who was 33 in 2006 and rejoined the U.S. Ski Team as an assistant coach Friday).
If he wins an event, he’ll become the oldest Olympic champion in Alpine skiing, a record currently held by the most decorated Alpine skier in Olympic history, Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt.
Aamodt won eight medals between 1992 and 2006. So, if Miller repeats his three-medal performance from Vancouver, he would tie Aamodt’s all-time record. It would also match Miller with Apolo Anton Ohno as the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian across all sports. That’s unlikely, but it’s certainly possible.