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Bode Miller

Bode Miller (born October 12 1977) is an American alpine skier. In 2008 Bode (pronounced as boʊˈdi) won his second overall Alpine Skiing World Cup title in four years, after also winning the title in 2005. This led the United States ski team to sweep the men's and women's overall World Cup titles for the first time in 25 years, as Lindsey Vonn won the woman's title. In 2005 Bode became the first American in 22 years to win the overall title, since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney in 1983. Earlier during his championship season, with a victory on November 28, 2004, he became only the fifth man to win World Cup races in all five disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, Super-G, downhill, and combined. With 31 World Cup victories, he is the most successful American alpine skier. He is also a four-time World Champion in four different disciplines and has a pair of silver medals from the 2002 Winter Olympics. On May 12 2007, Miller announced that he would be leaving the US Ski Team.. However, he still competes for the USA in international competitions.

Biography

Born in Easton, New Hampshire, to Jo Kenney and Woody Miller, he grew up in Franconia, New Hampshire, a small community in the heart of New Hampshire's ski region. His family, including older sister Kyla, younger sister Wren (short for Genesis Wren Bungo Windrushing Turtleheart) and younger brother Chelone (full name Nathaniel Kinsman Ever Chelone Skan), lived on 450 acres (2 km²) of land in a forest, where his parents celebrated the solstices, in a log cabin without electricity or indoor plumbing. He was homeschooled until the third grade, but after his parents divorced, he began attending public school. He applied for and got a scholarship to the Carrabassett Valley Academy, a training ground for skiers in Maine. His mother's parents owned and started the Tamarack Tennis Camp, and he has played tennis and soccer since childhood.

Miller first gained widespread recognition when he won two silver medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in the Giant Slalom and Combined events, though he had been known to skiing fans since he burst onto the World Cup scene as an 18-year-old in 1996. Miller is known for his reckless style, often risking crashes to increase his chances of winning a given race; in his book, Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun, Miller stated that his goal as a skier was not to win medals, but rather to ski "as fast as the natural universe will allow." In 2006, Miller also become famous for his reclusive (but outspoken) personality, and his attention-getting statements. Miller has historically fared well at the FIS World Ski Championships, winning a total of four gold medals and one silver medal.

Skiing career

2001/02 Season

Miller won his first World Cup ski race on December 29, 2001, taking the giant slalom at Val d'Isère, and then followed it up the next day with another win in the slalom at Madonna di Campiglio. He would go on to win two more slalom races in January 2002, along with a pair of silver medals at the 2002 Winter Olympics in February, thus establishing himself as the top skier on the U. S. Ski Team.

2002/03 Season

Miller sought the overall FIS World Cup title but fell just short, finishing second to Stephan Eberharter. At the 2003 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, he won three medals: gold in giant slalom and combined, and silver in Super-G.

2003/04 Season

In this season Bode Miller won FIS World Cup titles in two disciplines: giant slalom and combined but placed 4th in the competition for the overall title.

2004/05 Season

In the 2004/2005 season Miller won his first overall FIS World Cup title, defeating Austrians Benjamin Raich and Hermann Maier.

Miller made history by winning at least one race in each of the four standard World Cup disciplines: Slalom, Giant Slalom, Super-G, and Downhill; by winning a slalom in Sestriere, Italy, on December 13, 2004, he joined Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg, who had been the first man to accomplish this feat in 1989. Miller accomplished the feat in less time than any previous skier, male or female; the victory was his sixth of the season after only ten races. At the 2005 World Championships in Bormio, Italy he won two gold medals, in Super-G and Downhill.

2005/06 Season

Despite the hype surrounding Miller in the weeks prior to the 2006 Winter Olympics, every one of Miller's five medal bids in the Turin Games fell short: he finished a disappointing 5th in the Downhill, was disqualified – while in first place at the time – during the second leg of the Combined event, received a DNF (Did Not Finish) in the Super G, tied for 6th in the Giant Slalom, and claimed another DNF after missing a gate in the Slalom. While his Olympic Alpine Skiing finishes were respectable by historical American standards, they disappointed expectations and were widely perceived as a personal and team failure. At the 2006 US National Championships, Miller won the Downhill and Giant Slalom titles.

2006/07 Season

Bode Miller had 4 first place finishes in the early going of the 2007 World Cup. Miller finished 4th overall and won the Super G title. On May 12, 2007, Miller announced that he is leaving the US Ski Team.

2007/08 Season

Bode Miller clinched his second overall world cup championship at the World Cup Alpine Finals in Bormio, Italy. Miller missed a chance to also win the downhill title when bad weather prevented the season's last race from being run. Miller got his first win of the season at the Stelvio downhill in Bormio in December. On January 13, Miller won for the second year in a row the legendary Wengen downhill, matching Phil Mahre as the most successful American skier with 27 World Cup victories. On January 20, he broke this record by winning the Hahnenkahm combined event at Kitzbühel. On January 27, he won the first super combined in his career in Chamonix and took the lead in the World Cup standings. On February 3, he won the super combined in Val d'Isère and took the combined title. On March 1, Bode got his sixth win of the season at Kvitfjell, cementing his lead in the overall and closing to 5 points on Cuche in downhill. At the end of this impressive season he is crowned overall champion.

Publicity, press and promotions

Miller's fame was partly spawned by his 2002 Winter Olympics slalom performance where, as a relatively unknown athlete, he hiked back up the course to finish after missing a gate – a rare, mostly symbolic act of dedication in a sport where hundredths of second often separate gold from bronze.

2006 Olympics coverage

On the program 60 Minutes, in January 2006, Miller described the act of skiing "wasted" and compared it to lawlessly driving while intoxicated. Throughout the Olympics: "I'm just trying to ski in a way that's exciting for me." In an interview shortly after his last race, he said that it had "been an awesome two weeks," and that he "got to party and socialize at an Olympic level." Bob Costas' primetime editorial, after an unapologetic Miller interview with Tom Brokaw, the conclusion was offered that Miller might finally get what he wanted: to be unceremoniously forgotten. Miller was consequently vilified in the American and international media; editorials focused on his attitude of simply not caring about the Olympics or about his performance.

Many perceived his "whatever" attitude a violation of the "Olympic Spirit." An attitude that had more in common with one of his sponsors Nike, which espoused the motto "Just Do It." Some of the responsibility for the excessive 2006 Olympic publicity was believed to rest with Nike's relentless advertising campaign, in which they urged consumers to "Join Bode." This prompted Washington Post sportswriter Sally Jenkins to ask, "Where? At the bar?" in response to his well-publicized nights on the town in Sestriere. Others have argued that the blame for Miller's crash-and-burn publicity is shared between himself, his PR people, and his manager. The theory that they collectively made Miller available for a veritable media blitz in the months leading up to the Olympics.

[The Olympic hype] is going to be a tough thing for me to manage. My actions are not always consistent. I'm super-mellow and laid back, but I'm always thinking and running 100,000 scenarios through my head. Sometimes I'm disciplined, but I like to be a total slacker, too. I party hard, but I train hard. People are going to try and figure me out and figure out my motivations, and it's going to be a circus.
Miller was viewed as a loose cannon because he frequently responded to questions from the press with, as Layden put it, "sermons that are often delivered without regard to consequences" (witness his 60 Minutes and Rolling Stone 2006 interviews). Miller's US legacy has seemed to have paled since then with more recent revelations about drugs (Baseball and Cycling) and even more specular mis-adventures (American Football or Basketball) by the sports media.

Endorsement and sponsors

Miller's autobiography, Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun, co-written with his friend Jack McEnany, was published by Villard/Random House on October 18, 2005. Miller also became the first American alpine skier since Tommy Moe to endorse a video game when Bode Miller Alpine Racing was released for mobile phones on January 30, 2006, followed by Bode Miller Alpine Skiing for Playstation 2 and Windows. In 2006 Miller was the subject of a biographical film, Flying Downhill, which looks at the people and the place he comes from, and where exactly each fits within his philosophy.

Miller broke away from the US Ski team and formed "Team America" for the 2007/08 season. This allowed him more control of his training, equipment, staff and sponsors and fewer distractions.

Other sports

In 2002, Miller won ABC Sports' annual Superstars competition, a televised event that pits athletes from different sports against one another in a series of athletic contests. In doing so, he became just the second skier to win Superstars, after Hermann Maier won the year before. The US version of the show has largely been dominated by American football players.

On July 29, 2006, Miller signed a one-day contract to play baseball for the Nashua Pride (Canadian-American League). He went 0-2 with two strikeouts, however he did make an acrobatic catch in left field, which earned national attention by being featured by ESPN , among others. The team said it would donate at least $5,000 from ticket sales for the game to Miller's Turtle Ridge Foundation, which will give the money to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

On July 23, 2007, Miller again signed a one-day contract, to play the first three innings July 24, 2007, for the Nashua Pride, to raise money for charity.

World Cup victories

Overall and single discipline

Season Discipline
2003 Combined
2004 Giant Slalom
2004 Combined
2005 Overall
2005 Super-G
2007 Super-G
2008 Combined
2008 Overall

Race victories

31 total wins (7 downhill, 5 Super G, 9 giant slalom, 5 slalom, 5 combined)
Date Location Race
9 December 2001 Val d'Isère Giant Slalom
10 December 2001 Madonna di Campiglio Slalom
6 January 2002 Adelboden Slalom
22 January 2002 Schladming Slalom
22 December 2002 Alta Badia Giant Slalom
4 January 2003 Kranjska Gora Giant Slalom
26 October 2003 Sölden Giant Slalom
22 November 2003 Park City Giant Slalom
11 January 2004 Chamonix Combined
25 January 2004 Kitzbühel Combined
15 February 2004 St. Anton Slalom
28 February 2004 Kranjska Gora Giant Slalom
24 October 2004 Sölden Giant Slalom
27 November 2004 Lake Louise Downhill
28 November 2004 Lake Louise Super-G
3 December 2004 Beaver Creek Downhill
12 December 2004 Val d'Isère Giant Slalom
13 December 2004 Sestrières Slalom
11 March 2005 Lenzerheide Super-G
3 December 2005 Beaver Creek Giant Slalom
16 March 2006 Åre Super-G
1 December 2006 Beaver Creek Downhill
15 December 2006 Val Gardena Super-G
20 December, 2006 Hinterstoder Super-G
13 January, 2007 Wengen Downhill
29 December, 2007 Bormio Downhill
13 January, 2008 Wengen Downhill
20 January, 2008 Kitzbühel Combined
27 January, 2008 Chamonix Super Combined
3 February 2008 Val d'Isère Super Combined
1 March 2008 Kvitfjell Downhill

References

  • Miller, Bode; with Jack McEnany Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun. Villard Books.

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