Bode Miller said he will not race the Hahnenkamm downhill in Kitzbuehel, Austria, on Saturday, a famed race he has never won.
“It’s too much risk,” Miller told media after forerunning in the super-G in Kitzbuehel on Friday, a race won by Italian Dominik Paris. “I need to be smart and make the right decisions now. … It’s a tough decision, but it’s the right one.”
Miller, 37 and a six-time Olympic medalist, had back surgery 8 1/2 weeks ago and hasn’t raced this season.
“It’s just not enough time to run this with confidence,” Miller said. “I need to race this thing 100 percent if I go, and I’m just not there yet.”
Miller took two training runs in Kitzbuehel, including finishing sixth Thursday.
“That puts stress on my back, but that’s what I’m trying to do is put some stress on it that it adapts, but not too much stress that it gets hurt,” Miller said. “It’s been a fine line that I’ve been walking for a while.”
Miller has called Kitzbuehel “the pinnacle.” Miller has won two races in Kitzbuehel, but both were combined events rather than downhills. In the Hahnenkamm downhill, he owns two seconds and a third over his decorated career that began before GPS navigations were available for driving through Europe.
“I’ve never won the downhill here, and it is one of those things that I do feel is missing from my career and my downhill record book,” he told an Austrian media outlet in 2012.
Now Miller looks ahead to the World Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek, Colo., from Feb. 2-15.
“It looks better now than I thought it was going to,” Miller said. “Yesterday and today, there’s parts where I’m going full race intensity. … I think I’m right there. Another week and I should be good.”