KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — When Bode Miller is away from the ski slopes during the Winter Games, he might just be found joining his wife, Morgan, for a little volleyball practice in the street outside their hotel.
She’s a pro volleyball player with Olympic aspirations who’d love to have him hang out with her at the 2016 Games in Brazil, the way she’s supporting him in Russia.
“We play every single day,” Morgan said in an interview after watching her husband’s last downhill training session before he competes as the defending champion in the super-combined race Friday. “Bode is the most gifted athlete I’ve ever met. He always tries to find a better way of doing things. With volleyball, he has a new perspective on how I should be playing.”
And yep, five-time Olympic Alpine skiing medalist Bode gives volleyball veteran Morgan pointers as they bump the ball back and forth for fun.
Watching him race gets stressful for her. She cried after he finished eighth in the Olympic downhill last weekend, pulling her hood over her face to hide from cameras.
Morgan vowed to be more composed Friday.
“When you watch someone work so hard and not succeed, and you’re so invested in the process, it’s heartbreaking,” she said. “There’s no other way to say it. I had a lot of wise people send me messages after the downhill and say, ‘Just make sure you stay positive and happy.’ This has been a learning experience for me, too.”
The couple has been married for 16 months, and Bode is certainly enjoying having Morgan around. They’ve been pretty much inseparable since they began their whirlwind romance.
“I’ve learned to survive on the World Cup without much support, but it’s nicer and more enjoyable to have someone there who experiences everything with you and you can talk to,” he said. “So, yeah, it’s good.”
Before the Olympics, Bode had a very public dispute with a former flame over their infant son; the two eventually agreed in court to share custody. The agreement set up the possibility of Miller taking the boy — along with his daughter from a previous relationship — to these Olympics, but the logistics didn’t work out.
“There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle here and adding a couple of more pieces to the puzzle might have made it a little too overwhelming,” Morgan explained. “We didn’t know where we were staying until we got here and what the conditions would be like.
“It would’ve been really cool to have them at this event.”
Given that Bode is 36, and already would be the oldest medalist in Olympic Alpine skiing history, most people assume he’ll be done with the Winter Games by the time 2018 rolls around.
Morgan is not so sure about that.
“With Bode, you never know,” she said Thursday. “When he’s having this much fun, and you see how happy it makes him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept coming back.”
When that was relayed to Bode, he laughed it off.
“She’s a little bit extravagant with her imagination sometimes,” he said. “I don’t think that’s very realistic. Obviously, you never know.”