Examines Bode's Humanity

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The scene begins innocently: a big red barn in charming New England, sitting alongside a vacant road in Franconia, New Hampshire. Behind the barn stands a wood-shingled house, while a high-speed quad chairlift runs across the entire scene.

And then you're reminded of Local Referendum 7H that came up and passed on the Franconia ballot twelve years ago, without any national media attention — signage of any kind other than that erected by local, state or national authorities is not allowed on rural highways.

So what's a larger-than-life headshot of Bode Miller doing on the front lawn?

Local Referendum 7H may be an egregious set-up to this story, but the prospect of Bode Miller dominating the alpine events at the Winter Olympics in Torino this February is not far fetched. Since Miller's entry onto the World Cup circuit in 1998, he has amassed accolades similar to another Nike superstar, Tiger Woods.

The quaint scene described above introduces the campaign, Nike's effort to establish the fiery World Champion to all of the skiophobes here in the United States. While Miller enjoys rock-star status in the Old Country, Americans are only just realizing that he is the best skier, if not the best all-around athlete, on the planet.

Here's a brief recap of his professional career:

1998: World Cup Debut, 11th place
1999: World Championships, 8th in Slalom
2002: 2nd in World Cup Slalom standings
2002: Silver medals in Giant Slalom and Combined at the Salt Lake Olympics
2003: 2nd in World Cup Overall Standings, 2nd in Giant Slalom World Cup points
2003: Giant Slalom and Combined World Champion; Super G silver
2004: World Cup Giant Slalom Champion; 4th Overall
2005: World Cup Overall and Super G champion
2005: Downhill and Super G World Champion
Career: 19 World Cup wins (8 Giant Slalom, 5 Slalom, 2 Downhill, 2 Super G, 2 Combined); Six U.S. titles presents an opportunity to explore Miller's opinions, his home, his training regimen and some of his idiosyncratic pastimes. Why would anyone want to discover Miller's inner sanctum? Unlike professional athletes in high profile American sports like football, where a 300-pound offensive lineman can sprint forty yards while carrying three defensemen in less than five seconds, or in basketball where the average NBA player tops 6'7" and 47 players last season eclipsed the 7-foot mark, Bode is Everyman.


At 28 years old, standing 6'2" and weighing 210 pounds, Bode comes across as an average, albeit impressive example of humanity. Sure, Miller's uncanny skiing prowess places him among an intangible echelon of racers, but his Appalachian upbringing and real-life philosophies make Miller approachable and endearing. The media has attempted to tarnish Bode's reputation because of his ongoing outspokenness, but what lies at the root of his comments is Bode's desire to "focus on the human spirit and honesty" among athletes as he says in a clip about "The Road to Happiness."

On the surface is a menagerie of commentary by Bode. Users can navigate Bode's home and hometown, watch narrative video clips with subjects ranging from Validation and Winning to Golfing and Happy People. But as users listen to Bode talk about the place where he got a speeding ticket or scroll through pictures of him scarfing pizza at a local haunt, users get a feel for Bode, the American man who could be shopping at your local Safeway rather than fending off groupies in Kitzbuhel.

A highlight of the website pits users against Bode's training sled, a six to eight hundred pound tennis ccourt roller that plays a large roll in Miller's training regimen. Bode's philosophy on training can be summated in four words, "Go Till You Puke," and the game allows web surfers a chance to take part in the action.

The 2006 Torino Olympics will soon start and hopefully Americans will get to watch as Bode, Daron and the rest of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team (not to mention athletes in those off-the-hill sports) eclipse podium after podium. Until that time, take a look at and get to know the mind and habits of a true American champion.

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