Samuel Bode Miller (/ˈboʊdiː/; born October 12, 1977) is a World Cup alpine ski racer from the United States.
He is an Olympic and World Championship gold medalist, a two-time overall World Cup champion in 2005 and 2008, and the most successful male American alpine ski racer of all time. He is also considered one of the greatest World Cup racers of all time with 33 victories – one of five men to win World Cup events in all five disciplines. In November 2004, Miller became the 5th and last man to win World Cup races in the slalom, giant slalom, Super-G, downhill, and combined − and today he is the only skier with five or more victories in each discipline. In 2008, Miller and Lindsey Vonn won the overall World Cup titles for the first U.S. sweep in 25 years.
He has won six medals in the Winter Olympics, the most of any U.S. skier − two silvers (giant slalom and combined) in Salt Lake City 2002, a gold (super combined), a silver (Super-G) and a bronze (downhill) in Vancouver 2010 and a bronze (Super-G) in Sochi 2014 . Miller is one of 5 skiers who have won Olympic medals in 4 different disciplines, matching the feats of Kjetil André Aamodt and female racers Anja Pärson, Janica Kostelić, and Katja Seizinger.
He has won six discipline World Cup titles. During his career Miller has also won four World Championships titles in four different disciplines (giant slalom, combined, Super-G and downhill) and one silver medal in Super-G .
Born in Easton, New Hampshire, to Jo Kenney and Woody Miller, Miller grew up in Franconia, a small community in the heart of New Hampshire's ski region that borders the Cannon Mountain Ski Area. 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 (1.8 km2) of land in a forest, where his parents celebrated solstices, in a log cabin without electricity or indoor plumbing. He was raised a vegetarian. 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 ski racing academy 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 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in the giant slalom and combined events, though he had been known to skiing fans since he burst onto the international 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 became famous for his reclusive (but outspoken) personality and his attention-getting statements.
Miller not only first appeared in the World Cup during the 1998 season but also represented the United States in the 1998 Nagano Olympics, competing in both of the technical disciplines (giant slalom and slalom). In 1999, he also competed in Super G (which is considered a speed discipline, not a technical one) and represented the U.S. in all three events at the World Ski Championships at Beaver Creek, with a best finish of 8th in slalom. He finally achieved a podium in a giant slalom at Val d'Isère on December 17, 2000 (placing third), but then only competed in Super-G at the 2001 World Ski Championships; he crashed during the downhill portion of the combined and tore knee ligaments, which ended his competition.
During this season, Miller began regularly competing in downhill, making him a five-event skier on the World Cup circuit, although he was still considered a technical specialist. Miller won his first World Cup 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 racer on the U.S. Ski Team.
Miller won his first ever Olympic medal on February 13, 2002 in the combined event. He was 15th after the downhill portion losing 2.44 seconds to Kjetil Andre Aamodt. He then put a remarkable second run of the slalom portion to finish second overall just 0.28 behind Aamodt. Later on Miller won a second silver medal, this time in the giant slalom where he lost only to Stephan Eberharter of Austria. Miller was on a verge of winning medals in all disciplines he had entered at the Olympics, while he was second after first run of the slalom race. At the starting gate before his final run Miller had already a huge advantage of 1.79 seconds over then leading Sébastien Amiez. Instead of having a careful run to secure at least another silver medal, Miller decided to push for a gold. The tactics resulted in a fall and missed gate, which caused him to finish far behind the medal positions.
This was his final season on Fischer skis; he switched to Rossignol following the season's completion.
Miller challenged for the 2003 World Cup overall title but fell just short, finishing second to Stephan Eberharter of Austria. At the 2003 World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Miller won three medals: gold in giant slalom and combined, and silver in Super-G. He also won two other giant slaloms during the season.
In the 2004 season Miller won World Cup titles in two disciplines: giant slalom and combined, but placed 4th in the competition for the overall title. He won six World Cup races: three giant slaloms, two combineds and one slalom. After the season, Miller switched to Atomic skis.
Miller won his first overall World Cup title, defeating Austrians Benjamin Raich and Hermann Maier.
Miller made history early in the season 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. In the Bormio downhill portion of the combined, he lost a ski 16 seconds into the race, but decided to continue down the course nevertheless at speeds up to 83 km/h on one ski, before sliding out near the bottom nearly two minutes later.
Bode Miller 2006 Olympics
Miller in the giant slalom
at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy
Despite the hype surrounding Miller 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 had another DNF after missing a gate in the first run of the slalom. Nevertheless, Miller won two races during the season (a giant slalom and a Super G) and placed third for the season's overall World Cup title. At the 2006 U.S. National Championships following the World Cup season, Miller won the downhill and giant slalom titles. He switched to Head skis following the season's completion. Miller had prolotherapy treatments to the ligaments in his knee or knees in February 2006, along with other ski team members, Bryon Friedman and Eric Schlopy.
Bode Miller had four first place finishes (two downhills and two Super Gs) in the early going of the 2007 World Cup. For the season, Miller finished 4th overall and won the Super G title. On May 12, 2007, Miller announced that he was leaving the U.S. Ski Team. He followed the precedent set by slalom skier Kristina Koznick, who left the U.S. Ski Team following the 2000 season and raced the next six years for the U.S. as an independent.
Bode Miller clinched his second overall championship at the World Cup finals in Bormio, Italy. Miller missed a chance to also win the season's 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 Hahnenkamm 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, France, and took the combined title. On March 1, Bode got his sixth win of the season at Kvitfjell, Norway, cementing his lead in the overall standings and closing to 5 points on Didier Cuche in downhill. At the end of this impressive season he was crowned overall champion.
Miller responded to his World Cup success in 2008 with the worst season of his professional career, leading some to speculate that he might be "burned out." Miller failed to win a race for the first time in eight years and had only two official podium finishes, both seconds in downhill, to show for his season. Miller suffered a torn ligament in his left ankle in a December fall at Beaver Creek, which may have been a factor in his performance. He took a four-week break from competition in February and March, the first World Cup races that he had failed to start in three years, and missed the end of the World Cup season, although he still had a chance to win the season's downhill title. He said that "the fire goes away after a while", and he hinted at retirement.
The on-hill podium ceremony.
From left: Ivica Kostelić (silver), Bode Miller (gold) and Silvan Zurbriggen (bronze)
After returning to the U.S. Ski Team, Miller missed much of the early part of the 2010 season due to an ankle sprain during a volleyball game with other members of the team. However, he returned by winning a World Cup super-combined event in Wengen on January 15, 2010, for his first victory in nearly two years.
He made the U.S. team for the 2010 Winter Olympics in late 2009 and was selected to compete in all five events, despite his lack of training. In his first race, after several delays due to warm weather and poor snow conditions, Miller won a bronze medal in the downhill, the first American to win an Olympic medal in downhill since Tommy Moe won gold in 1994. Miller's time was 1:54.40, nine hundredths of a second behind gold medalist Didier Défago, and two hundredths behind Aksel Lund Svindal, who took the silver; the time difference between the gold and bronze medals was the smallest in Olympic downhill history. He then won a silver in the Super G, giving him four Olympic medals, more than any other American alpine racer. On February 21, 2010, he won his first Olympic gold medal in the super combined. After the downhill portion of the race, Miller was in seventh place, but finished third in the slalom portion, giving him a total time of 2:44.92 to finish first overall. Miller then failed to finish either the giant slalom or slalom, and he took the rest of the season off due to continuing problems with his ankle injury.
Miller followed his Olympic success with rather average season, but still managed to finish Top 3 in three occasions. He was third at the city event in Munich, second to Didier Cuche at Kitzbuehel's downhill and third in Super-G at Hinterstoder. He started World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen with typical Bode-like fashion at Super-G race. He was leading the field despite losing a pole midway through the course, however he lost his balance coming out of a bend at the bottom, slowed down and stood up as he crossed the finish line on 12th position.
Miller earned 33rd World Cup win of his career with a downhill victory in Beaver Creek. He topped young Swiss sensation Beat Feuz with four hundredths of a second. He also managed to finish 2nd in Super-G at Val Gardena, 3rd in super-combined event in Wengen and 2nd in downhill race in Chamonix, where he was one hundredth of a second behind Klaus Kroell.
After undergoing a knee surgery in spring 2012, Bode decided not to rush his comeback to the slopes and announced in January 2013 that he would skip the entire season to ensure a completely healthy run for his 5th Olympics at Sochi 2014.
At the beginning of his comeback season Miller surprisingly finished second at Beaver Creek's giant slalom only behind fellow American Ted Ligety. His hopes of winning his first downhill race at Hahnenkamm came up short after he made a significant mistake in the middle section of the course to eventually finish third. Next day he ended up second only behind Didier Defago in Super-G at the same mountain.
Miller began the Winter Olympics in Sochi by winning two out of three training sessions before the men's downhill and was a big favorite to win the event. However, as sunny conditions of the training days changed into a cloudy race day, he was not able to keep up the level of his skiing and finished the race in eighth position. He was then unable to defend his title from the previous Olympic Games as he finished sixth in the super combined event. On February 16, 2014 Bode Miller became the oldest Olympic medalist in alpine skiing history, by winning a bronze medal in the Super-G race. He shared a third place podium with Jan Hudec of Canada. By collecting his sixth total Olympic medal, Miller moved to the second position on the all-time list of Olympic male medalists in alpine skiing, only behind Kjetil André Aamodt who won eight medals. In his last race of the Olympics Miller finished 20th in the giant slalom which was won by his teammate Ted Ligety.HERO DYD