Bode Miller will head to PyeongChang as an Alpine skiing analyst for NBC Olympics, rather than bid to make a sixth Olympic team at age 40.
Miller, the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier with six medals, called his decision not to race again “easy.” He made it months ago. Nothing changed in his life that made him rethink it.
“It had kind of been a long time coming,” said Miller, who last raced at the February 2015 World Championships, severing a hamstring tendon in a super-G crash (video here). “But just with my kids and the time and life, when I look at skiing now, I don’t really feel like I have anything, the motivation, the desire, the everything to kind of go through it again. Aside from the logistical challenges and my priorities and my family being first and not being able to put any of that aside to train and prepare the way I know I need to, I have so much experience. I know there’s no shortcuts in what I would have to do to really take a pretty solid commitment on my part. That would mean sacrificing a lot of other things.
“It would be one thing if it was a different sport like, you know, golf or tennis or something where I could go out there and limp into it. But skiing is just so dangerous and risky, and there’s so much there that can go bad for you. I think just the preparation for it is so demanding. It’s just not feasible to get that done.”
It’s the end of arguably the greatest Olympic skiing career in U.S. history.
Miller, who debuted at the Olympics in 1998 at age 20, earned two silver medals in 2002, a medal of every color in 2010 (after a well-publicized failure in 2006) and a bronze in 2014 (oldest Olympic Alpine medalist in history).
Only retired short track speed skater Apolo Ohno has more Winter Olympic medals among Americans with eight.
Miller also won world championships in four different disciplines and a pair of World Cup overall titles.
What will he miss? Any regrets?
“I never really feel like I miss anything,” he said. “I had such a long career. I think things ran their course. I tend to process things pretty much real time. I think that I was aware as I went through it I made sure I got the most out of skiing and my experiences. … I definitely don’t have regrets about the way that I did things.”
Miller did things his way. On the race courses with a trademark go-for-broke style. Off of it, too. He rubbed some the wrong way and even competed separate from the U.S. Ski Team at times.
“Of course, I made a lot of mistakes and stupid things, but above all I was able to do it the way that I wanted to and the way that I felt I should,” Miller said. “That, I think, is my biggest accomplishment.”
Miller is the first of the golden generation of U.S. Alpiners to bring the curtain down. Miller, Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso all developed in the early 2000s and won Olympic gold medals.
The PyeongChang Winter Games are expected to be the final Olympics for Vonn and Mancuso. Ligety, at 33 years old with a wife and child, has not ruled out 2022.
Miller gained experience as an analyst for NBC Sports the last two World Cup seasons. It came pretty naturally. He has no reservations offering critical analysis of his former peers.
“I think people have always pointed out that I can be critical and kind of harsh that way,” Miller said. “Once you get to know me, or once you see that it’s never done in a malicious way at all, I just don’t have that in me. It’s not coming from a place of mean. It’s coming from a place of stating factual stuff from my perspective. I think people are OK with that for the most part.”
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