Miller Gets Hate Mail for Medal Loss


March 17, 2006

Are, Sweden (AP by Erica Bulman) - Maybe the hate mail will stop now that Bode Miller has won a race. Or maybe it's just too late. Miller, who produced a 1-2 American finish with Daron Rahlves in the season's World Cup final super-G on Thursday, has been receiving hostile letters since failing to medal at the Olympics last month.

"The stuff after the Olympics was pretty aggressive, Miller said. "People were getting pretty fired up and pretty involved considering the amount of research they were willing to do, which as an athlete is a maybe a little bit weird and a little bit frustrating.

"If somebody's going to put that much energy into writing me or my family or my coaches hate mail, and be pretty harsh and aggressive, it seems like they would put the 10 minutes or whatever to do a little bit of research and find out that they're basing their entire hate mail and judgment on the opinion of one journalist, who's never even been to a ski race, or has been to one or two ski races in their life, and doesn't know anything about what they're writing about.

But it is uncertain whether a victory at this point will appease his detractors, who criticized Miller for his late-night habits in Sestriere, accused him of being negligent or tanking his races, and declared he was unfit - both physically and to represent his country at the Olympics.

"I hooked a knee in the super-G at the Olympics because I was skiing really aggressively and that easily could have happened today, he said. "I think that's where the confusion was at the Olympics. A lot of people just don't know the sport that well.

The 28-year-old Miller said his failure to medal at the Olympics was because he too fired up, a problem Rahlves has often encountered, too.

"Arousal-control has been an issue for me since the beginning of my career, said Miller, famous for crashing out in the technical events, especially slalom. "I was as physically and mentally fit as I could be at the Olympics. Maybe I was overamped in the sense I would get so fired up I would detonate. I was getting on the front of the ski. It's just wanting to get down too much.

Miller completed the 2,172-meter Olympia course in 1:27.78 in Thursday's race for his second victory of the season. He won the giant slalom at Beaver Creek, also just ahead of Rahlves.

"It's always nice to end the season like that. It's fun to come here and see what possibly could have happened there (at the Olympics), said Miller, who was the runner-up in Wednesday's downhill finale while compatriot Lindsey Kildow was runner-up in the women's race.

Rahlves, who is retiring after this season, crossed 0.34 seconds behind. Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, winner of the final downhill, finished third to claim the World Cup discipline title that had belonged to Miller.

Svindal finished with 284 points, edging Maier by two points. Rahlves was third with 269 points.

Miller also lost his World Cup overall title this season to Austria's Benjamin Raich.

Copyright © 2006 The Associated Press