This is a printer friendly version of an article from www.rutlandherald.com
Article published Feb 25, 2006
An ugly snapshot of Miller
Editor's note: Rutland resident Marci Francis, a member of the U.S. National skeleton team, will file periodically from Turin, Italy during the Olympic Games.
Last night it was utter chaos at the "Irish Igloo," a bar in Sestriere, Italy, that is honored with the designation of being the official "U.S. Ski Team House."
It is a favorite hangout for the athletes and less-glam crowd, except for the Irish Team, who protest going there because being Irish doesn't qualify them as VIPs. No matter how many times they refer to the sign "Irish Igloo" above the door and point to the Irish flag on the jackets, they are still left to stand in line with the rest of us unlucky charms.
On this particular night, the line was longer than ever, and as I stood watching Tom Green interview a U.S. ski team member, none other than Bode Miller marched quickly out the door with a friend in tow. Not far from the bar now, Miller stood talking with the friend in the street. Promising my sisters a picture if I saw him, I decided to seize the opportunity.
Hoping to not draw attention to myself or Miller, I nonchalantly approached them and said, "Excuse me, would you mind? I promised my sisters that if I saw you I would get a picture with you."
Miller's friend, obviously on the defensive front-line of the Miller Madness, took my camera, and said "Sure, I'll take a picture of you" and was about to take a picture of just me, when Miller stopped him with his reply:
"Would I mind? Would I mind? Do you know how many (expletive) pictures I just took in there? That's all anybody wants is their picture with me. I must have taken at least a hundred pictures just now!"
By now, boisterous Bode had commanded a crowd. In an attempt to pacify the situation, I replied, "I know, I understand it must be tough, but I only asked for one picture."
Miller: "This sucks, I can't go anywhere without people hounding me for my picture. That's all everyone wants — just one picture. Do you know what I think? I think every picture people take of me takes a piece of my soul."
Trying not to laugh, I replied "Really." Instead of a picture, now I was getting "Deep Thoughts by Bode Miller", which I must admit got me thinking, too.
"You know, my husband was an Olympic medalist in speed skating, and he takes pictures with people all the time," I said, trying to find some common ground with Miller.
"Well, speed skating doesn't get one hundredth of the attention that we do," he replied sarcastically.
Wow, I thought to myself. He seems to be as good at math as he has been about performing during these Games.
"Actually, speed skating is very popular here in Europe," I said, a little bit defensive. "You know, I can't believe I wanted my picture with you to begin with."
As I took my camera and began to walk away, I cringed as a group of unsuspecting picture-seekers approached Miller with the same request.
Miller's tangent ensued. "Are you (expletive) crazy? No, I'm not taking a picture with you. I just told her I wouldn't take a picture, and she's cute!"
Determined to get the last word in, I turned and shouted back, "And American, you (expletive)."
Perhaps Miller should have thought about the sanctity of his soul before he signed major endorsement deals with Nike and Barilla, and appeared on countless magazine covers and television shows prior to the Games.
Miller himself had been one of the major driving forces behind the mania that now follows him, yet seems unwilling to accept the responsibility of becoming a household name. Before long, his 15 minutes of fame will wane, and he too will find himself waiting in the back of the line, behind me, at the Irish Igloo.
Unrepentant Bode: 'Man, I Rocked Here' By JIM LITKE, AP Sports Columnist
Unbent, unbowed and ultimately unsuccessful, Bode Miller said in an interview Saturday he is skiing away from these Olympics on his own terms — content without any medals and impressed by the local nightlife.
"I just did it my way. I'm not a martyr, and I'm not a do-gooder. I just want to go out and rock. And man, I rocked here," Miller said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press soon after he skidded off the slalom course in his fifth and final race, completing an 0-for-the-Olympics.
Miller came to the Italian Alps cresting on a wave of expectations and was considered a medal threat in every Alpine event. But he failed to finish three of them and his best showing was fifth in the downhill — part of a games with few highlights for the U.S. Ski Team.
"The expectations were other people's," Miller said. "I'm comfortable with what I've accomplished, including at the Olympics. I came in here to race as hard as I could. That was my obligation to myself."
As for his obligation to prepare, Miller said he was less ready for these games than the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, where he won two silver medals.
"I've been living my life as if I might have died two weeks before the Olympics started," he said. "That left me the opportunity to dig deep, to go down that other route, to make more sacrifices and get back to where I was."
Miller said that while he might have prepared differently, he isn't one to second guess and he started each race fully focused and determined to win.
He called his Olympic experience "awesome" and cited the gold medals by teammates Julia Mancuso and Ted Ligety as one reason. Another, he said, was Sestriere's bar scene.
"My quality of life is the priority. I wanted to have fun here, to enjoy the Olympic experience, not be holed up in a closet and not ever leave your room," he said. "People said, 'Why can't you stay in for the two weeks, three weeks? You've got the rest of your life to experience the games the way everybody else does.' But I like the whole package. I always have."
He compared his Olympic experience to fellow American Daron Rahlves, who was a favorite in the downhill and a contender in the super-G but didn't come close to the podium.
"Look at what happened to Rahlves. He was holed up in his RV, he's probably the fittest guy out here and he made a point of talking about how important the Olympics were to him," Miller said. "And then look — a little bad luck and he's got nothing to show for the whole thing.
"Me, it's been an awesome two weeks," Miller said. "I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level."