Bode Miller says take it easy on interviewer who made him cry
FEB 17, 2014 8:00a ET
The Internet isn't very happy with NBC interviewer Christin Cooper after her repeated questions about his younger brother's death made legendary American skier Bode Miller cry following his bronze-winning run on Sunday.
But Miller himself isn't one of the people calling out Cooper. In fact, he was defending her Monday morning on NBC's Today Show.
"I have known Christin a long time, and she's a sweetheart of a person. I know she didn't mean to push. I don't think she really anticipated what my reaction was going to be, and I think by the time she realized it, it was too late. I don't blame her at all," said Miller, speaking to Matt Lauer.
"I feel terrible that she's taking the heat for that because it really was just a heat-of-the-moment kind of circumstance. I don't think there was any harm intended. It was just a lot of emotion for me. It's been a lot over the past year. You sometimes don't realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks, and then it's just a real outpouring."
The day began magnificently enough of the slopes of Krasnaya Polyana, Russia, on Sunday morning. Miller, at 36 years old, won the bronze in the men's super-G, becoming the oldest Alpine medalist in Olympic history. The medal was the sixth of his career, making Miller the second-most decorated male ski racer in Olympic history and tying him for second all-time among all US Winter Olympians in any sport.
You can see much of the NBC interview here.
But shortly after the interview, the Internet exploded in rage, believing that Cooper bombarded Miller with questions about Chelone, in hopes of bringing the skier to tears.
It should be noted that Cooper is not a lifelong journalist, but rather an Olympian skier herself, having won silver in the giant slalom in 1984 at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.
As the interview opens, Miller is speaking about his brother's death. From there, Cooper asks Miller three questions about his emotions, one specifically about his brother, another about what Miller is thinking when he's "looking up at the sky at the start."
From there, Miller breaks down and is unable to continue the interview, Cooper putting an arm on the skier. The interview was over, but the controversy had just begun . . . until Miller did his part to squash it with a classy tweet late Sunday.
Here was Miller's first tweet following the interview:
Thanks for all the support, today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 16, 2014
And here's a sampling of the reaction.
NBC had about 16 hours to decide whether it was a good idea to air that disgraceful Cristin Cooper/Bode Miller interview.— Mark Mravic (@MarkMravic) February 17, 2014
Shame on you @NBCSports and Christin Cooper for that horrible "interview" w/ Bode Miller. Hope it was worth ripping his heart out like that.— Ms. Cakes (@patycake15) February 17, 2014
That horrible woman interviewing Bode Miller wasn't gonna quit until she got him to weep. Award winning journalism right there.— kellierasberry (@kellierasberry) February 17, 2014
And the criticism came from many angles, including some of the most traditional.
And other TV outlets.
And other athletes.
And a fellow US Winter Olympic legend.
Some announcers just don't know when to stop asking questions-why can't they leave Bodie Miller alone and let him deal with his emotions.— MIKE ERUZIONE (@MERUZIONE) February 17, 2014
And somebody took to Wikipedia to express their outrage at Cooper.
That comment on the Miller interview has since been removed from Cooper's Wikipedia page. As of early Monday morning, the reference to the Miller interview on Cooper's Wikipedia page read:
In 2014, Cooper interviewed skier Bode Miller and caused controversy when she was perceived as badgering him on the subject of his late brother.
And after the interview aired on the West Coast of the United States, and more than 20 hours after his first post-interview tweet (with one retweet the sum of Miller's Twitter activity since), the skier sent this response:
I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014