Bode knows critics, but Bode knows podiums, too | SummitDaily.com
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Bode knows critics, but Bode knows podiums, too

Nate Peterson/Vail Daily
Special to the Daily/Jack AffleckU.S. Ski Team member and world champion Bode Miller charges down Beaver Creek's Centennial run Thursday in preparation for North America's World Cup races. Miller makes no bones about his ambitions for the season. After winning the World Cup giant slalom in Austria, his sights are on winning the overall World Cup title.
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BEAVER CREEK – Cocky? Maybe. Hardheaded? Probably. But can Bode Miller back it up?

Most definitely.

Miller, 26, of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team doesn’t really care what people think about him and the way that he skis. All he really cares about is where he is standing at the end of the day.

And, after a season-opening win in the giant slalom in Soelden, Austria on Oct. 25, there aren’t many people that would refute his reasoning.

Bode knows podiums.

“In my opinion, it’s results that really do most of the talking.” Miller said. “People are critical when you don’t have results to show, and they’re not critical when you’re winning. I’ve never really been that concerned with what anyone says. That’s never been an objective for me to look like I’m not out of control or to look different, or to look the way people want me to.”

Miller had been hounded throughout his early career for being a risk taker who couldn’t seem to put together complete runs.

“I’ve always erred on the side of taking too much risk in skiing, especially up until now,” Miller said. “I think that’s one of my biggest strengths. I think most of my confidence comes from an understanding of myself and my sport. That’s just it. If you don’t take risks, you can’t do well. There’s not a time where your racing at World Cup level and you’re going to win where you’re just cruising. Usually, when I was crashing, it was for one reason or another.”

Sometimes, Miller was just to stubborn to play it safe – to lay up – instead of going for broke. There were times, he admits, that he would boast to his coaches to try and find someone who could ski the six gates he just went through faster, even though he crashed on the seventh.

But, after finishing fourth in 2002 and second last year in the overall World Cup standings behind Austria’s Stephan Eberharter, the best finish by a U.S. man since 1983, Miller seems to have put his critics to rest, and hypothetically, put the tag of a Russian rouletter behind him.

Now, in his eighth year on the team, he’s looking for another one – World Cup Champion.

“The overall title is not something that you just go out and win one day. You have to win lots of races or be competitive all season long,” Miller said. “It’s all about each individual race. I know some guys put more emphasis on the World Championships or the Olympics, but those are just single races.

Obviously,the overall is a goal that I’ve been shooting for, for the last two years, and I’ve gotten closer and closer. Hopefully, this will be the year for me.”

The men’s team is training this week at Beaver Creek as it prepares for the slalom and giant slalom competitions in Park City, Utah next weekend, the next stop on the World Cup circuit.

All six of Miller’s World Cup wins have come in the technical events, with three in giant slaloms and another three in slalom.

Nate Peterson can be contacted at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608, or at npeterson@vaildaily.com.


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