The American Hero, 26
“At all my races, I see these signs that say ‘I love you, Bode,’ or ‘I want to have your baby,’ says U.S. Ski Team superstar Bode Miller. “It’s flattering once, or twice, but it makes it harder for me to do my job, which is to ski fast. With unflappable focus, Miller has been skiing fast since 1996, when he won the Junior Olympics super G and giant slalom on a pair of stock K2 Fours. He nabbed two medals at the Salt Lake Olympics and three at the 2003 World Championships—and put U.S. skiing back on the radar. But it’s more than just the hardware; the guy’s a human highlight film. Sometimes he wins by full seconds. Sometimes he blows up—on or off the course. “I’ve always been able to do 720’s and front flips, he says. “A few years back, I started doing Lincoln Loops. I push to be better than the other guys. I’ll just keep trying new shit until I smash myself.
The Vision: “I’m waiting for some entertainment entrepreneur to promote ski racing. We risk our lives and it’s all real. You’re going 80 miles per hour, almost naked, with no protection except a helmet. So what’s more real than that? I mean, c’mon. Put it in front of people; they’ll eat it up. It could be the next NFL.