Bode 'right there,' but skis out of giant slalom
Bode Miller makes no apologies for his high-risk, high-reward style. It's what earned him three medals in the first three races at the Vancouver Olympics, and what caused him to ski out in the giant slalom on Tuesday.
``I'm taking more risk than everyone else. That's partly why I'm able to get medals. It looks easy when you make it,'' Miller told The Associated Press in an interview after missing out on becoming the first man to win four Alpine medals at one Winter Games.
``When you crash like today, it's like, 'Oh, huh?' I did a good job today, too,'' Miller continued. ``I was right there. I was right on the edge.''
He's constantly on the accelerator going down the mountain, taking takes chances few others would, and that gambler's mentality has paid off richly for him in Whistler.
Until Tuesday, of course, when his attacking nature cost him. The other side of Miller surfaced, the one that was on display in Turin four years ago.
Miller chalked up his failure to complete the first run of the giant slalom to his aggressiveness.
Losing time on the upper section of the course, where he narrowly avoided a crash, he tried to make it up by going faster on the bottom.
This time, the 32-year-old from Franconia, N.H., couldn't correct his line with that much speed. He came out of a right-hand gate in the second half of his run, and simply couldn't bring it around in time for the next gate. He said he hooked his glove on a gate and ``that's all there is to it.''
Miller also told the AP that he had trouble picking up the bumps on the course because of the overcast conditions.
``This light - I knew I had an issue this morning. I'm not one of the better skiers in flat light. I tend to move a lot more,'' Miller said. ``Some of those guys are so squared up and solid, the bad light doesn't affect them that bad. ... I hit any of those little bumps while I'm moving, if I can't see them, I blow out.''
Miller blew off the media after his run, electing to ski down the hill rather than stopping in the interview area, as skiers typically do.
With his giant slalom day over, Miller was intent on sneaking in some rest. He has one final chance, in Saturday's slalom, to add a fourth medal.
``That's what we're focusing on now, I guess,'' Miller said. ``I knew I had to ski great today to give myself a chance. I came out of the gate doing it. There's very small margin of error for me on this course. Slalom is the same way. ... I'll have a good chance to rest now, get charged up for it.''
Four years ago in Turin, Miller had a forgettable Olympics. Touted as the star of those games, he left empty-handed, more attention on his social life than his skiing.
Vancouver has been a completely different experience. His charging style has been well suited for this mountain.
``When I look back on my career, it's hard to believe the (stuff) I've been able to pull off,'' Miller said of his aggressive approach. ``I take everything with a grain of salt. There are a million variables. But I also take some credit for it. I do go that way, all the time. I am willing to deal with the consequences, when a lot of guys aren't willing to deal with those consequences. So they don't take the risk.''
That's never been a consideration for him. He only knows one way - fast.
Even here, he can't back off. He doesn't care about pressure, expectations or anything else, just his way of skiing.
``My pressure is to do what I expect of myself,'' Miller said. ``To go out there and say I have pressure on me to win a medal, that's the most asinine pressure to put on yourself. It's not in your control at all. Whereas, my intensity is under my control. ... It's not like you just push the button and go. You've got to get the right setup, all your ducks in a row mentally, and let it go.''
He's done that the entire time in Vancouver, his entire career for that matter.
``About 400 races and 13 or 14 years in, that's what he does,'' said Miller's agent, Lowell Taub, in a telephone interview from New York. ``And sometimes it leads him to medals, and sometimes it leads him to 'DNF.'''
AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this story.