American Bode Miller aiming to go out with a bang at 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Last Updated: 01/10/13 12:11pm
Bode Miller: Hoping to go out with a bang in Sochi
American skiing legend Bode Miller says he is hoping to go out with a bang at what is likely to be his final Winter Olympics.
Miller has won the five Olympic medals, four world titles and is generally regarded as the best male skier the United States has ever produced.
And as he approaches his 36th birthday, Miller admits he is nearing the end of his stellar career going into the Sochi Games.
"You're renting the title until somebody else takes it away. If you're too attached to it, you're going to be bummed out when your rental agreement runs out," he said.
"It's not so much about my legacy as it is about ski racing in general. Ski racing deserves what you can give to it. It's been the love of my life up until now."
Miller has been in the spotlight since his first Olympics in 1998 when - as a 20-year-old - he famously cartwheeled over the line after sailing off the course just 15 gates in.
"In '98, I was basically throwing the dice," he said.
Eight years later he was the sport's biggest star after winning four world titles from 2003 to 2005, and claimed his first overall World Cup title in 2005.
But he failed to win a medal in the 2006 Turin Games, and did not even finish in three events. A famously laid-back individual, he later admitted he had managed to "party and socialise at an Olympic level."
Miller was heavily criticised for that infamous remark and he admits now he may have made a mistake.
"Dealing with those kind of tough situations, it's obviously part of growing and being a grown-up," Miller said.
"When you're under the magnifying glass like that, there's no way to really judge yourself too harshly in hindsight. Obviously, I could have said things differently, I could have done things differently. A lot of other people could have done things differently, too.
"I had chances to win, I was prepared. I don't think I did anything dramatically as evil as it was portrayed. But I think that's part of being under the microscope that way, and I'm fully capable of dealing with it. It didn't really ruffle me as bad as I think a lot of people would have expected. I just don't seem to get bothered by that stuff that much."
Miller finally found success, winning a medal of every colour at the Vancouver Olympics, including a gold in the super combined. That gave him a total of five Olympic medals, more than any other US skier.
Asked about his expectations for Sochi, Miller said he intends to "kick butt in what is almost certainly his last Olympics.
"Everyone looks for these big epiphanies," he said. "I've spent lot of time and energy being a ski racer. I've earned the right to compete at a high level and I've spent a lot of pain and a lot of energy trying to develop these skills. The Olympics, to me, is just a great opportunity to enjoy that.
"It's a perishable process, being a ski racer. Until you're all rotten or shrivelled up, you should keep going. I'm pretty shrivelled up, but I'm not all rotten. Not yet."