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Bode Miller

Hall of Fame Class of 2018

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Fiercely independent, remarkably gifted, and always innovative, Miller revolutionized the ski world with his unprecedented success in five events.

Bode Miller’s résumé includes a segment that often gets overlooked amid the brilliance of his six Olympic and five World Championship medals (including four golds), 33 World Cup wins, 79 podiums and two World Cup overall globes. During an unprecedented stretch at the onset of the 2004-05 season, when he was going head-to-head with the likes of Hermann Maier, Lasse Kjus, and Benjamin Raich, Miller won six of the first 10 races. In an era of increasing specialization, when you were either a technical or a speed skier, Miller won races in each of the core disciplines—slalom, giant slalom, super G and downhill—in a 16-day period, and all before mid-December.

Though his personal barometer of success was based more on internal measures than medals, Miller had reached his goal of “skiing as fast as the natural universe will allow.” It is a feat that has never been ed, nor likely will be. Only one other male racer had won in all four events in a single season, and it took the legendary Marc Girardelli more than two months to accomplish it (Jean-Claude Killy won in three events in one season, and in an Olympic fortnight, but that was in the pre-super G era). Furthermore, while five male racers have won in all five disciplines in the history of the World Cup (including the combined), only Miller has won five or more times in each event. And, along with Kjetil André Aamodt, he is the only male skier to win Olympic medals in four disciplines.

Miller is easily the most successful male alpine skier in U.S. history, and his results place him among the all-time international elite. Reclusive yet outspoken, fiercely independent and stubborn, and unwilling to accept politics or dogma, he did it his way—even when it shocked and confounded the world. Already a revered superstar in race-crazy Europe, a status he didn’t embrace, Miller inspired legions of U.S. fans to take notice of the sport with his risk-taking style and devil-may-care attitude. Miller not only won, but he entertained and advanced the sport by defying tradition. He introduced the world to shaped skis with his early wins in the U.S. Junior Nationals on the K2 Four, and during his career would encourage his ski and boot suppliers to innovate along with him. A natural athlete with a powerful 6-foot, 3-inch frame, he was accomplished in soccer, tennis and golf. He adhered to his own strength training regiments, building a makeshift gym with farm implements in the family barn.

Miller took lines and risks on race courses that made the old-guard European coaches choke on their cigarettes, and retreat to their video rooms to watch endless loops of his impossible recoveries. He left the U.S. Ski Team fold to race as an independent and promptly won his second overall World Cup title in 2008, and with teammate Erik Schlopy showed the team the necessity of having a European base. Later in his career, the renegade outsider would mentor younger members of the team. Even in his most challenging athletic moment, when he went 0-for-5 at the 2006 Torino Olympics Games and drew worldwide criticism for his comments about partying at an Olympic level, he actually skied reasonably well in the downhill, missing an Olympic medal by just .11 seconds, and led the combined until hooking a tip in the final slalom run.

The son of counterculture parents, Miller spent the earliest years of his Franconia, N.H., childhood in a backwoods cabin without plumbing or electricity. After earning a scholarship to attend the Carrabassett Valley Academy at Sugarloaf, Maine, he steadily climbed the worldwide rankings, first as a technical skier. In his World Cup debut in 1997 in Park City, he stormed from bib No. 69 to finish 11th in a GS. A feature story in SKI Magazine in 2000 dubbed him “The Great Hippie Hope.”

His introduction to the world would come at the same mountain at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, when he won silver medals in combined and GS, and demonstrated his go-for-broke style in the slalom. Rather than settling for the silver medal, he attacked the second run and failed to finish, which would become a common theme throughout his career. Along with his first overall World Cup title in that miraculous 2005 season, he won gold in super G and downhill at the 2005 Bormio World Championships. And after the Torino disappointment, he won the big globe again in 2008.

It was a different Bode Miller who showed up for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, having managed to reconcile his dueling thoughts on the Games, which while being over-hyped, over-commercialized and full of scandal, still represented the unique opportunity to ski as fast as humanly possible on the largest global stage. Despite missing the early part of the season due to an ankle injury, he took the bronze in downhill, silver in super G and his first Olympic gold with a win in the combined, completing the podium trifecta.

Miller won his 33rd and final World Cup race at Beaver Creek during the 2012 season, and skipped 2013 so he could return for an encore at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. On. Feb. 16, 2014, he became the oldest Olympic medalist in alpine skiing by earning the bronze medal in super G at age 36.

After retiring in 2017, Miller launched a ski company, Bomber, allowing him to express his own ideas on gear, and has an equity stake in an apparel company, Aztech Mountain. Turning his revolutionary ideas and passion to horse racing, he has an experimental breeding and training farm in Maryland that is closely watched by the thoroughbred community. He hosts an annual golf and tennis tournament at Tamarack, and a ski race at Cannon Mountain, to raise money for his non-profit Turtle Ridge Foundation, which supports youth and adaptive sports programs. For the 2018 Olympics, he served as an insightful commentator for NBC’s alpine coverage.

Miller is married to Morgan Beck Miller, a former professional volleyball player, and the family lives in Southern California. They have two young sons, and Miller has two children from previous relationships.

Career Highlights:

2001: Wins first World Cup race in GS at Val d’Isere.
2002: Collects two silver medals in combined and GS at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
2003: Wins two golds (GS and combined) and silver (super G) in the 2003 St. Moritz World Championships.
2005: Wins six of first 10 races and earns first overall World Cup globe; wins two golds (super G and downhill) in the Bormio World Championships.
2008: Wins second overall World Cup globe.
2010: Collects three medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
2014: Becomes oldest Olympic alpine ski medalist with bronze in super G in Sochi.
2017: Officially retires from U.S. Ski Team.

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