Miller apologizes for comments on drinking
The Associated Press
WENGEN, Switzerland ” Bode Miller apologized today for his comments about skiing and drinking during a televised interview, regretting the “confusion and pain” he caused.
The apology came after the overall World Cup champion spoke to U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association president and chief executive Bill Marolt. The USSA was swamped with angry phone calls from team donors and corporate sponsors after Miller said during a “60 Minutes” profile on CBS that it’s not easy “to ski when you’re wasted.”
“The most important thing is that I wanted to come straight out and apologize to mostly my family, friends,” Miller said at a news conference at the Wengen Elementary School. “But also we have a lot of people who supported me along the way, through my team and even just family and friends who have supported me, who I think are subject to only what the media puts out in America.”
“And because of the way I made those comments in the ’60 Minutes’ interview, it caused a lot of confusion and pain for all those people and obviously that’s nothing I want to do so firstly I’d like to apologize to them,” he added.
Miller took no questions after his statement and has not commented on the possibility of leaving the U.S. team and competing on his own.
International Ski Federation president Gian Franco Kasper said he was surprised by Miller’s apology.
“But I’m happy,” Kasper told The Associated Press. “It’s a good thing and a clever move.”
Miller angered ski officials, team staff and sponsors when he told the CBS program “there’s been times when I’ve been in really tough shape at the top of the course.
“Talk about a hard challenge right there. … If you ever tried to ski when you’re wasted, it’s not easy,” Miller said. “Try and ski a slalom when … you hit a gate less than every one a second, so it’s risky, you know. You’re putting your life at risk there. It’s like driving drunk only there’s no rules about it in ski racing.”
Asked if the risk meant he would never ski drunk again, the 28-year-old Miller replied, “No, I’m not saying that.”
Marolt traveled to Wengen following Sunday’s airing of the show to meet with Miller and “work with him to both recognize the seriousness of his comments and to reach a positive outcome.”
Miller also apologized to fans and the media today after he tied for third during training for Saturday’s downhill.
“(I apologize) to the people who I don’t have any direct interaction with: fans, just people, parents who are trying to put all athletes up on a pedestal and show their kids what they’re supposed to be like,” Miller said. “Obviously, the message that came through was not something that I would promote or (what) I’m about in any aspect of my sporting career.
“I think the people who have watched me through my career can say I don’t … put anything in front of my sporting career and in front of taking ski racing and sports seriously. Those are the most important things. And then on top of that I’d like to apologize to the media because I’ve been not speaking with you guys very much.”
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American giant slalom stud Ted Ligety won six times at Birds of Prey, be it five World Cups and/or gold in the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, but we have to remember what a struggle it was for him to get there.