WAIPAHU, HI – Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) was bumped in two sets Thursday by 31-year-old Erik Nelson-Kortland at the US Open National Playoffs Hawaii Pacific Sectional Qualifying Tournament.
The National Playoffs were launched earlier this year by the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) to provide the opportunity for all players 14 years of age and older to earn a wild card into the 2010 US Open Qualifying Tournament in August.
“Tennis has always been a part of my life,” said Miller, 32, who captured gold, silver and bronze at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. “I’ve played my whole life and I’m a top level athlete, but I can get beat by high school kids or guys who were 500 in the world 20 years ago, but still play at a really high level. The US Open National Playoffs are a great concept and I think it’s cool that if somebody has the ambition and wants to work at it and train that there’s a set route to get a chance at that.”
Known worldwide for his alpine skiing mastery, Miller is an avid athlete across the board, particularly in soccer, golf and tennis. In early May, Miller won the annual Ski and Golf World Championships held in Zell am See-Kaprun, Austria, European training base for the women’s U.S. Alpine Ski Team. In 2004 he played on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court against Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf in an exhibition during the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day festivities at the US Open.
Miller’s tennis roots stem from his mother, whose family founded the Tamarack Tennis Camp in Easton, NH in 1962. The camp continues to operate and Miller has returned in past years to serve as a counselor.
As a student at Maine’s Carrabassett Valley Academy, a top U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association club program, Miller was the state singles champion. He continues to play for fun, to stay healthy and to use the sport as an avenue to raise money for the Turtle Ridge Foundation, a non-profit he started in 2005 to help solve difficult environmental protection issues and to offer the opportunity for young people to participate in a variety of sports and recreational activities.
In 2009 he hosted a tennis celebrity challenge and a kids’ clinic to support the foundation, which donated $10,000 to the Harlem Youth Tennis and Education program. In addition to the annual BodeFest, a skiing event in the spring, Miller also hosts BodeBash, a golf and tennis classic set for August 21-22.
For more information on the Turtle Ridge Foundation and BodeBash, check out www.TurtleRidgeFoundation.org.