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

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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.”

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Chicago Marathon features Emily Sisson’s return, Conner Mantz’s debut, live on Peacock

Emily Sisson
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At Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, Emily Sisson makes her return, nearly three years after Olympic Trials disappointment. Conner Mantz makes one of the most anticipated U.S. men’s debuts in 26.2-mile racing.

It is not the norm, but an American will be one of the spotlight runners in both the men’s and women’s elite races at a major marathon. Peacock airs live coverage at 8 a.m. ET.

Sisson, 30, starts her first mass marathon since dropping out of the Olympic Trials on Feb. 29, 2020, her legs “destroyed” on the hilly Atlanta course where she started as arguably the favorite. She ran the virtual New York City Marathon later in 2020, but that was solo (and not in New York City). Her 2:38:00 isn’t recorded in her official results on her World Athletics bio.

Since, Sisson won the Olympic Trials 10,000m on the track and was the top American in Tokyo in 10th place. She moved back to the roads, winning national titles at 15km and the half marathon and breaking the American record in the latter.

Sisson vaulted into the elite group of U.S. female marathoners in 2019, when she clocked the second-fastest debut marathon in American history, a 2:23:08 on a windy day in London, where the early pace was slow.

At the time, it was the 12th-best U.S. performance all-time. In the last two years, Keira D’Amato, 37, and Sara Hall, 39, combined to run seven faster marathons. At Chicago, a flat course that produced a world record three years ago, Sisson can answer them and perhaps get close to D’Amato’s American record 2:19:12.

“I’m hoping sub-2:20,” coach Ray Treacy said, according to LetsRun.com. “With the [super] shoes and the training behind her, I would think that’s [worth] at least three minutes.”

It is less likely that Sisson can challenge for the win on Sunday given the presence of Kenyan Ruth Chepngetich, the 2019 World champion and defending champion in the Windy City. The 28-year-old mom is the fifth-fastest woman in history with a personal best of 2:17:08. And Ethiopian Ruti Aga, a podium finisher in Berlin, New York City and Tokyo with a best time of 2:18:34, though she has one marathon finish since the pandemic (a seventh place).

Like Sisson, Mantz has shown strong recent road racing form. The American men’s debut marathon record of 2:07:56 (Leonard Korir) is in play. If he can break that, Mantz will be among the five fastest U.S. marathoners in history.

Rarely has a U.S. male distance runner as accomplished as Mantz moved up to the marathon at such a young age (25). At BYU, he won NCAA cross-country titles in 2020 and 2021 and placed fifth in the Olympic Trials 10,000m, then turned pro and won the U.S. Half Marathon Championships last December.

“If everything goes as planned, I think sub-2:08 is realistic,” Mantz said in a Citius Mag video interview last month. “If everything goes perfect on the day, I think a sub-2:07, that’s a big stretch goal.”

The men’s field doesn’t have the singular star power of Chepngetich, but a large group of East Africans with personal bests around 2:05. The most notable: defending champion Seifu Tura of Ethiopia and 2021 Boston Marathon winner Benson Kipruto of Kenya.

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Alpine skiing to test new format for combined race

Alpine Skiing Combined
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Alpine skiing officials will test a new format for the combined event, a race that is under review to remain on the Olympic program.

French newspaper L’Equipe reported that the International Ski Federation (FIS) will test a new team format for the combined, which has been an individual event on the Olympic program since 1988. L’Equipe reported that a nation can use a different skier for the downhill and slalom in the new setup, quoting FIS secretary general Michel Vion.

For example, the U.S. could use Breezy Johnson in the downhill run and sub her out for Mikaela Shiffrin in the slalom run, should the format be adopted into senior competition.

The format will be tested at the world junior championships in January in St. Anton, Austria, according to the report.

In response to the report, a FIS spokesperson said, “Regarding the new format of the combined is correct, and our directors are working on the rules so for the moment the only thing we can confirm is that there will be this new format for the Alpine combined that has been proposed by the athletes’ commission.”

Some version of the combined event has been provisionally included on the 2026 Olympic program, with a final IOC decision on its place coming by April.

This will be the third consecutive World Cup season with no combined events. Instead, FIS has included more parallel races in recent years. The individual combined remains on the biennial world championships program.

L’Equipe also reported that the mixed team parallel event, which is being dropped from the Olympics, will also be dropped from the biennial world championships after this season.

“There is nothing definitive about that yet, but it is a project in the making,” a FIS spokesperson said in commenting on the report.

Vion said the mixed team event, which debuted at the Olympics in 2018, was not a hit at the Beijing Games and did not draw a strong audience, according to L’Equipe.

The World Cup season starts in two weeks with the traditional opening giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria.

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