More incredible turns! more flaky weirdo stunts! More media frenzy! No more coaches!
MAYRHOFEN IM ZILLERTAL, Austria (AP)—Bode Miller plans to ski next season but won’t commit to the Vancouver Olympics.
The two-time overall World Cup winner disclosed his plans to his ski manufacturer Thursday during a long meeting on the Kaprun glacier. Miller skipped the final four stops of the last season to spend time with his 1-year-old daughter and said he was considering retirement.
“He’s planning to continue,” Head’s racing director Rainer Salzgeber told The Associated Press. “I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had told us he was taking the year off. But he said, ‘No, I don’t want to do that.”’
Miller declined comment when contacted by the AP.
“I’m not going to talk about it. I don’t have much faith in the media,” he said. “Why don’t you just skip that part of the story and write whatever you want to write because that’s what you guys do anyway.”
The highlight of next season is the Vancouver Games, but Miller would not give Salzgeber an answer concerning the Olympics.
“That’s the same thing I asked him, and he said, ‘I’m not focusing on that,”’ Salzgeber said. “It would be a big surprise if he stops, although the Bahamas are nice that time of year, and you never know with him.”
If he does skip the Olympics, Miller will lose a bundle of cash from Head. Salzgeber wouldn’t provide details, but said, “It does change the money.” Head is Miller’s biggest source of income.
The New Hampshire skier told Head he intends to race without coaches and he will skip summer training.
“He wants to have everything in his own responsibility. Not having any coaches leaves him a little more room,” said Salzgeber, adding he could personally aid Miller by setting courses for training.
Miller broke away from the U.S. team two years ago to train and race on his own. His personal coach from last season, Forest Carey, has been in contact with the U.S. team about a new job.
Miller might not train on snow again until September or October. The season begins Oct. 25 in Soelden, and Salzgeber said Miller wants to start there.
“He has a pretty good dry-land training program, and he looks quite good right now,” Salzgeber said.
Miller cut last season short when he failed to win a medal at the world championships in Val d’Isere, France, in February. It was the third consecutive major championship where Miller failed to medal. The streak began at the 2006 Turin Olympics, where Miller gained more headlines for his late-night partying than his skiing.
By setting his coaches free, Miller allows for the possibility of changing his mind at the last minute, but Salzgeber said the American was excited about testing new skis.
“I could feel it in the discussion. He’s really into it and he wants to push it on the materials side,” Salzgeber said. “But everybody who knows Bode could imagine he changes his mind.”
Miller’s contract with Head lasts through the 2011-2012 season. Salzgeber said the company would not terminate the contract if Miller decides to quit.
“For us, it’s not a big deal,” Salzgeber said. “He will continue to test for us either way.”