Video: Skier Miller says he's misunderstood

By Brian Williams Anchor & “Nightly News” managing editor
NBC News
updated 2/15/2006 4:55:09 PM ET 2006-02-15T21:55:09

He is now known simply by his first name — Bode. The world is quickly finding out the rest: that Bode’s a risk-taker and that he likes being known as the rebel.

“Bode is fierce, ferocious and can dominate when he wants to,” says Alan Abrahamson, NBC Olympic analyst and Los Angeles Times staff writer. “The question is: at the start gate, what is going on in Bode Millers’ head?  Wait and see.”

The story of this 28-year old is now the stuff of New Hampshire folklore. He was raised in a log cabin with no indoor plumbing or electricity. His face is now everywhere.  He’s a big part of NBC’s Olympic coverage. And then there are the product endorsements.  He also has his own satellite radio show.

Bode Miller knows none of this would exist if he was an ordinary skier.

Asked if he, in a sense, is always involved in a controlled crash down the mountain, Bode responded, laughing, “Yeah, I suppose, pretty close. I mean, it’s a series of really crucial decisions, one right after the other.”

He’s been asked so many times about who he is that he now has a ready answer. “I have a really diverse personality,” Bode says, “I go all the way from really laid back, really mellow, really introspective— but I like to get rowdy, I like to party, too.”

It is that last point, his partying, that landed Bode Miller on the cover of every major magazine in America a few weeks ago after telling CBS’ "60 Minutes" program, “If you ever try to ski when you’re wasted, it’s not easy.”

That comment, about drinking and skiing led to an apology from Bode— which was forced on him by the U.S. Skiing Association.

“The message that came through was not something that I would promote, or that I’m about, in any aspect of my sporting career,” Bode said.

When asked recently about performance-enhancing drug use in sports, he took on Barry Bonds, saying the baseball all-star “knowingly cheated.”

When NBC asked him about it, he said there should be new rules.

"My request of the drug testing organizations is… figure out what levels are okay for the human body to tolerate and then get over whether it’s performance-enhancing or not, because it’s always different," he says. "Something that’s performance-enhancing for you might not be at all for me."

All of this is from a young man who insists he’s misunderstood, that the media’s gotten things wrong about him.

“I think the media likes to play up the rebellious side, the defiant side, the really stubborn side, the risk-taker,” Bode says, “ They play that stuff up, because it has appeal.”

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