BRETTON WOODS, N.H. Sept. 10, 2003 (USSA Release)--World ski champion Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.) said at a press conference he wants to win the overall World Cup title this winter, but-more importantly-he wants to stay injury-free.
"My goal is the same as every year-to not hurt myself," he said during a 45-minute, casual sit down with about two dozen journalists at the Mount Washington Hotel. Miller met the media, who were attending the Northeast Winter Sports Summit, a ski industry trade show, before accepting the North American Snowsport Journalist Association's Outstanding Competitor Award for the second straight season. By the end of his 45-minute session, the crowd had more than tripled, with ski area personnel and suppliers meandering in to the hotel's Conservatory to eavesdrop.
In addition to being the first American male to win three medals-gold in giant slalom and combined, silver in super G-at the 2003 Worlds in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Miller, who lives less than a half-hour from the hotel, also finished second in the 2003 overall and giant slalom standings. He won two more World Cup GS races and ended his season by winning three gold medals at the Chevy Truck U.S. Alpine Championships at Whiteface Mountain, outside Lake Placid, NY.
Two years ago, heading into the 2002 season, Miller was recovering from a torn left knee ligament suffered in a crash at the 2001 World Championships. Last season, he was bothered by the knee again and had arthroscopic knee surgery after the opening race in late October, before the schedule started its continuous racing phase. He was the only skier, male or female, who competed in all World Cup races last season, not to mention the World Championships.
Having just returned from a three-week training camp in New Zealand, Miller said he was feeling the best he's felt in a couple of summers. In addition to his usual summer routine of tennis instructor at the family's Tamarack Tennis Camp, he has gotten to play golf-he shot 76 on a local course Monday morning, he said, before a lengthy interview and photo shoot with the French newspaper L'Equipe. His main concern during the season, he told reporters, is not just staying healthy, but how his main opponents, including Austrian Stephan Eberharter, who has won the last two World Cup overall titles, race.
"A lot will depend on how others ski, but you also have to stay healthy," said Miller. He was runner-up to Eberharter in overall points last season and runner-up in GS to now-retired Swiss great Michael Von Gruenigen.
"I want to win the overall, and then the GS and slalom," Miller said. In the long run, he wants to be recognized as the greatest U.S. ski racer-"and you can do that several ways," he said. Most Olympic or World Championships medals; he has two Olympic silver medals, three Worlds medals. Most World Cup wins; he has six, more than 20 behind Phil Mahre. Most World Cup titles.
At the Chevy Truck Super Series races in Colorado last November, Miller told a press conference he expected it would take "a year or two" to start building a head of steam to become a World Cup overall title contender. He'd skied downhill in spots for several seasons, but he hadn't trained as much as he thought he needed. However, he made a quick adjustment when he got on his first Rossignol downhill skis at Lake Louise just a day before the opening training run. He felt comfortable, was seventh in training the next day, won the third training run and finished seventh in DH, seventh in super G that weekend...and kept rolling.
"That was surprising," he conceded, and it laid the foundation for his brilliant season.
Miller, who lost an equipment testing camp in Europe during the summer because of the searing heat wave which gripped the continent and ravaged glaciers, plans to head to Europe several days ahead of the final preseason training camp in early October to test new Rossignol slalom skis. The camp precedes-weather permitting-the World CCup openers in late October on the Rettenbach Glacier above Soelden, Austria.
For more information about Bode Miller and the U.S. Ski Team, check out their website at www.usskiteam.com