Winter Olympics Journal

February 15, 2010 11:27 PM

New Olympic look for Bode: bronze

bode.jpgBode Miller's 2010 Olympics are already nothing like his last Games.

Miller won a bronze medal in downhill Monday, the U.S. team's first Olympic downhill medal since 1994, when Tommy Moe won gold.

Maybe it's the fact he's got a toddler daughter. Maybe it's that he's four years older. But Miller seems to be a changed guy.

At Whistler Creekside Monday, and in the first few days of these Games, he has shown little of the person who defiantly partied his way to Olympic oblivion in Torino. He didn't win a medal there, but it's hard to blame him for that. Not hard to blame him for the attitude.

These days, he can be as contrarian as ever. But now he's got a medal in his pocket -- and the promising possibility for more -- on alpine's first day of the Games.

Fans in other countries appreciate him more than we do. When he finished his downhill run Monday, Swiss flags fluttered. He got big cheers from Americans, but other Europeans too. He now owns three Olympic medals (Miller won two in 2002).

Before Monday's race, he floored another competitor by telling him he was actually nervous. This isn't the World Cup.

"Compare that to when you go up there, and you feel the Olympics," he said of the downhill start. "You get the chills. You get nervous. You get a little bit scared. But then you get positive. You go through the emotional roller coaster of what it is to compete for an Olympic medal. You let that run through your body, let yourself get built up, then you go out and give everything you've got."

He's a member of the U.S. ski team again, instead of skiing independently like he did in 2006. Members of the team say he's been a good teammate.

"He had a great attitude coming into this," said Andrew Weibrecht, 24, a first-time Olympian. "He's been great. He really wasn't around much previously. Now he's super-involved with the team. He's willing to help out guys and willing to be there and share his experience with everybody. And then on top of that he's been super on top of his program and wants it. He's doing everything he can to be as fast as he can."

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