AP

Bode Miller, after tragic year, heads to Montana’s mountains

Leave a comment

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Retired U.S. downhill skier Bode Miller decided a change of scenery was needed after a tumultuous year in which he experienced the tragic death of his toddler daughter, the birth of a son and now the expected arrival of twin boys this fall.

So the 41-year-old six-time Olympic medalist and his pregnant wife, Morgan, headed to the Montana mountains with four children in tow to settle into a new home at Big Sky Resort north of Yellowstone National Park. There, he plans to give his California-raised children a modernized taste of his childhood in northern New Hampshire, where he and his hippie parents lived in a home without running water or electricity.

“After losing Emmie, we definitely reflected on how we were raising our kids,” Miller told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “We felt like there was enough missing from our experience and their upbringing in Southern California that we needed to look at other options.”

Emeline Miller drowned in a backyard pool in June 2018 after she slipped out the back door of a neighbor’s house that the 19-month-old girl and her mother were visiting outside Los Angeles. Four months later, as Bode and Morgan Miller dealt with their grief, their son Easton was born and joined the family that already included another girl and two boys.

Miller said he spent time after his daughter’s death questioning what he could have done differently, and then he sharpened his focus on his other children. Drawing from his childhood in Franconia, N.H., he concluded they needed to move closer to nature and live in a small community to bond as a family and instill values like independence, self-reliance and grit.

With the twins due in November, Miller decided the time was right.

“When you get a true sense of the possible shortness of life — nobody knows what’s around the corner — it’s not something you want to put off,” Miller said. “It changed a bit our intensity of how we deal with our time and our family and our priorities.”

Morgan Miller has said the family keeps Emeline with them by sharing memories and imagining having her with them, and that she wants to make sure their children are getting the best of their parents and out of life.

“It’s a battle every day to get up out of bed,” she told TODAY in August. “But to see them and see the joy through their eyes and to live vicariously through all of their daily experiences makes each day just a little bit easier.”

The family plans to split their time throughout the year between their new home in Montana and their current home in Coto de Caza, an upscale Los Angeles suburb.

In Montana, Bode Miller will have a new role as the face of the sprawling Big Sky Resort, in the shadow of the 11,166-foot Lone Peak about 25 miles north of Yellowstone. Communities scattered across the slopes include the Yellowstone Club, an exclusive resort for the ultra-rich. The Millers will live in nearby Spanish Peaks, another upscale development.

Bode Miller will act as Big Sky’s brand ambassador, working on its ski programming, running camps and helping develop the booming ski area.

He and Morgan, a former professional volleyball player, also plan to continue their campaign to educate parents about water safety for young children.

“It was a horrible experience, losing a child,” Bode Miller said. “The loss was brutal, but we have an amazing family, and we have a unique ability to really live a spectacular life and move forward, and also to show each other and show the rest of the world what that healing process can look like.”

Bode Miller is the most decorated male skier in U.S. history with 33 World Cup wins, two overall titles, four world championships and six Olympic medals. He built a reputation as a brash risk-taker who enthralled audiences that would tune in just to see whether he’d win or crash trying.

His 19-year professional skiing career ended with a crash in the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado, that severed his hamstring tendon. He formally retired in 2017.

Now, nearly four years after that race, his time on the slopes is spent mostly with his 11-year-old daughter, his 6-year-old son and his 4-year-old son, who is just learning how to ski. Bode Miller said he enjoys skiing as much as ever, but he harbors no thoughts of a comeback.

“I’m pretty glad to have it behind me, honestly,” he said. “I feel like it was a great phase, but I’m definitely past it and don’t really have any desire to do it again or look back on it.”

Bode Miller said he’ll always be involved in downhill skiing because he loves the sport and the people in it, but his long-term plans are unclear.

He’s not closing the door on broadcasting but acknowledged he’d have to do it more regularly to get better.

“It can’t be once every four years for the Olympics,” he said. “That didn’t make sense to me. I don’t think I would ever really improve doing it that way.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Lindsey Vonn, P.K. Subban engaged

Nathan Chen, Simone Biles, U.S. women’s soccer team win Team USA Awards

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Simone Biles was named female athlete of the year and Nathan Chen took the corresponding award for men Tuesday at the Team USA Awards in Los Angeles.

Six-time Olympic swimming champion Amy Van Dyken-Rouen, who has taken up wheelchair CrossFit competition since an ATV accident in 2014 left her paralyzed from the waist down, took the Jesse Owens Olympic Spirit Award. She works to help other people with spinal cord injuries through the Amy Van Dyken Foundation and Amy’s Army, which has launched a Wheels for Kids program to help injured children find wheelchairs that may not be covered by insurance.

The show also included a medal ceremony in which the teammates and family of the late Steven Holcomb received silver medals that were reallocated after doping infractions changed the results of the 2014 Olympic bobsled competition.

MORE: Holcomb’s legacy lives on 

Award winners from the ceremony:

Female Olympic athlete of the year: Simone Biles, gymnastics 

Biles took a one-year break after winning four gold medals and a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics, then came back to do even better, unleashing new skills on the balance beam and in the floor exercise. This year, she won five gold medals at the world championships, breaking the record for career medals.

Female Paralympic athlete of the year: Oksana Masters, Para Nordic skiing and Para cycling 

Already an eight-time Paralympic medalist in Nordic skiing, biathlon and rowing, Masters had a breakout year in cycling, taking silver medals in the world championships. In Nordic skiing, Masters took five world championships (three cross-country, two biathlon) and the overall World Cup championship in sitting cross-country along with a second-place overall finish in biathlon.

Male Olympic athlete of the year: Nathan Chen, figure skating 

Chen had a double back-to-back year, winning his second straight world championship and his second straight Grand Prix final. He also started his 2019-20 season by winning both of his Grand Prix events. He and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu are far ahead of any other skaters in posted scores this season.

Male Paralympic athlete of the year: Ben Thompson, Para archery 

Thompson took the world championship and the No. 1 ranking in the men’s compound event and led the U.S. to a world record in the team compound event.

Olympic team of the year: U.S. women’s soccer team 

The team claimed the sport’s biggest prize for the second straight time, working its way through a difficult field that included a quarterfinal matchup with host France to win the World Cup once again, adding to its previous wins in 1991, 1999 and 2015.

Paralympic team of the year: U.S. sled hockey team 

Like the women’s soccer team, the sled hockey team went unbeaten in the world championships and claimed a fourth world title.

MORE: Golden goal clinches championship

Olympic coach of the year: KiSik Lee, archery 

This year, Brady Ellison won a world title and set a world record in the Pan Am Games, and Ellison teamed with Casey Kaufhold to win the world title in the mixed team event, which will be on the Olympic program in 2020.

Paralympic coach of the year: Wesley Johnson, paratriathlon 

The founder and head coach of Balanced Art Multisport in Salt Lake City, Johnson is the personal coach of three top-10 paratriathletes, and he served as an assistant coach in the world championships, where three of the athletes he coached won silver medals.

NBC will have highlights of the show at 2 p.m. ET Dec. 22.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Hanyu, Zagitova control their Grand Prix Final destiny at NHK Trophy; TV, live stream schedule

Getty
Leave a comment

In order to qualify for the Grand Prix Final — after missing the event the past two seasons for varying reasons — two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu needs to finish inside the top four at NHK Trophy, the sixth and last remaining Grand Prix series event. Hanyu competes on home ice in Japan this weekend, and the event is streaming live for NBC Sports Gold subscribers.

A full breakdown of Grand Prix Final-clinching scenarios can be found here.

Hanyu won the Grand Prix Final four straight times (2013-16). The prestigious December event would be the first time this season Hanyu and two-time Grand Prix Final champion Nathan Chen would compete head-to-head, outside the world championships in March.

Hanyu trains in Toronto alongside American Jason Brown, who will also be competing in Japan. Brown clinches a spot in the Grand Prix Final if he earns a silver or better, but is also very likely in if he earns a bronze medal.

Reigning Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova of Russia is in a similar situation this weekend at NHK Trophy, needing to finish on the podium to clinch a berth in the Final. She faces Moscow-based training partner Alena Kostornaia (who needs to finish fifth or better to make the Final) and Japan’s Rika Kihira (must earn a medal of any color), among others such as 2019 European champion Sofia Samodurova of Russia and 2017 U.S. national champion Karen Chen.

MORE: Alina Zagitova focused on artistry, while other Russians push technical boundaries

Three teams in the pairs’ field at NHK Trophy can earn spots in the Grand Prix Final. Two-time world pair champions Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China and Russia’s Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov need a medal of any color to clinch, while Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro need silver to clinch, but could win with a bronze and a high score. See the breakdown here for details.

In ice dance, four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France are favorites at NHK Trophy. They have appeared in three Grand Prix Finals and own a medal of each color, including a win at their most recent appearance in 2017. (The duo withdrew from a regular-series Grand Prix event last season and were unable to qualify for the Final.)

The most likely NHK Trophy scenario is that Papadakis and Cizeron win NHK Trophy, and Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin finish second – and if that happens, Papadakis and Cizeron, Stepanova and Bukin and Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates (currently on the cusp of an entry) all make the Final.

MORE: Gabriella Papadakis, Guillaume Cizeron on ‘Fame,’ chasing history

NHK Trophy Broadcast Schedule

Day Time (ET) Event Network
Thursday 10:30 p.m. Rhythm Dance NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
Friday 12 a.m. Pairs’ Short NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
2:30 a.m. Women’s Short NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
5 a.m. Men’s Short NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
10 p.m. Free Dance NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
Saturday 12:30 a.m. Pairs’ Free NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
2:30 a.m. Women’s Free NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
5 a.m. Men’s Free NBC Sports Gold STREAM LINK
Sunday 4 p.m. Highlights NBC | STREAM LINK

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!