Interesting article in the New York Times this morning on Bode's whereabouts and plans:
Miller Ponders Forgoing Gold to Avoid Fame That Follows
By BILL PENNINGTON
If Bode Miller enters the 2006 Winter Olympics, he could win as many as five gold medals. Certainly, he would be a favorite to win two or three.
And to Miller, that is the problem.
Such a performance would bring him national celebrity, unheard of for a ski racer, and that prospect so troubles Miller that he has not yet agreed to participate in next year's Olympics. Already a superstar in Europe as the overall World Cup champion, Miller does not want fame to overtake his life at home as well.
"I've seen what has happened to my lifestyle in Europe, and it isn't pretty and it certainly isn't why I got into ski racing," Miller said yesterday. "I prize my privacy, and losing it is the one thing that makes me hesitate to commit to the Olympics right away. I don't want to put too much in jeopardy."
Miller, whose freethinking ways are well known in the ski community, has been floating the idea that he might not compete in the Olympics since last month, when he won the overall World Cup title, the first for an American since 1983. He is also talking about an alternative tour to the established World Cup. Miller, a New Hampshire native who was raised in a rural wood cabin without running water or electricity, said he would not make a decision about the Olympics for several weeks or months.
Few who know Miller doubt his sincerity, although it has been suggested that he may simply be trying to make a point.
"I want to be able to walk into a bar and order a beer without it being a big deal," said Miller, who appeared in Manhattan yesterday at a function organized by one of his chief sponsors, Barilla, the pasta company. "I want to be able to go ski recreationally and not be recognized. Right now, I can walk around in New York and nobody recognizes me. One guy did recognize me but he was an Austrian dude. I like it like that. I don't want to lose the ability to live the life I do."
At the same time, Miller recently signed an endorsement contract with Nike, which is hardly where an athlete goes to be under-promoted.
Miller, 27, won two silver medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, accomplishments rooted in an individualistic, daring racing style. Celebrity may disconcert Miller, but he still is easily engaged in conversation about new training and equipment advances that he believes will make him a better skier. It is the conversation of someone eager to see what other races he can use to test himself, and even Miller concedes there is no bigger skiing event than the Olympics.
"It is the best way to see what you can do on a featured stage," Miller said. "Not for the glory but for the test."
For Miller, it is often about the test. He was chided, even by his own coaches, for competing this season in four different events - slalom, giant slalom, super-G and downhill - because most thought he would wear down and lose the commanding lead he had built for the overall title. But Miller ended the season with a flourish, running away with the crown.
"That was important for me because that's doing it the right way," Miller said. "It shouldn't be about getting the most World Cup points, anybody can do that specializing in one event. I wanted it to be clear to the rest of the racers and coaches and anyone else that I was the best World Cup racer. Because I finished the complete athletic test of every race."
Miller did not, however, guard his prize very well. The crystal globe he received for the overall title was broken after he gave it to baggage handlers on a flight returning from Europe.
"I still have the pieces," Miller said, laughing. "But they said they would replace it."