Bode Miller reflects on the Olympics and his past

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 9, 2009 7:04 am

Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn have a lot in common. They’re both icons of their sport, grabbing the attention of the media and contributing to the ever growing popularity of downhill ski racing. While Lindsey is somewhat of a poster child for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, Bode had his chance to embody that role in 2006. He was coming off a coveted World Cup overall champion title in 2005, and he was lauded as being the best ski racer in the world. There was one problem though.

He wasn’t sure he cared all that much.

Bode was, and is, what you might call an independent spirit. He’s not the kind of guy who can handle people telling him how to think, how to act, how to speak to the press—he doesn’t want to play that game. That was clear enough in 2006 when, although going 0-5 in races, he partied like a frat boy and explained that the Games were not a failure at all because of all the partying and socializing he got to do at an Olympic level. Almost sounds like a rebellious teenager, lashing out at parents who are trying to mold him.

No doubt his antics four years ago hurt his reputation, but ski fans seem to have short memories. We love this guy. Heck, his partying ways may have even caused people to love him more. However, when asked if he would like to undo the way he handled 2006, he said, “I’m not sure you can ‘undo’ anything, but if you have any ideas about that …We know, going into the Olympics [in 2006], I was conflicted. I wasn’t feeling great about where I was. And that’s not the kind of person you want to have as your poster boy. I believed what I believed. But that didn’t match up with what everyone else believed. And that was frustrating. To have everyone else put words in my mouth all the time, about how I should be feeling and what I should be doing, what my goals should be. … That would be frustrating for anyone. It ended up being a negative experience.”

Yes, that situation sounds like it would be frustrating for anyone…but Lindsey Vonn seems to be handling it OK. “Lindsey’s great,” Bode says. “She’s well sorted-out for that sort of stuff. She’s got a great attitude about the sport. And the Olympics in general. And that’s ideal. She is a perfect person for [the Olympic star role]. She’s skiing at the top of her game. I don’t think there’s ever been an American skier as dominant, and I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do.”

It seems in four years we’ve seen a bit of change in Bode. While he’s admitted to not being in the kind of physical shape he’s used to  being in before racing competitively, perhaps he’ll rock this year’s World Cup and the Olympics…simply because this year, he can do it on his own terms.