USSA Not Amused by Bode Miller's 60 Minutes Comments

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Publish Date

01/09/2006

SAM Magazine--Salt Lake City, Utah, January 9, 2006--The United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) issued a statement today following Bode Miller's appearance on "60 Minutes" on January 8. In the interview, Bode talked about racing while intoxicated and the dangers that lie therein. He was referring to celebrating a World Cup victory and waking up the next morning, still under the influence, and going out to race again. "Talk about a hard challenge right there. ... If you ever tried to ski when you're wasted, it's not easy," Bode said in the interview. "Try and ski a slalom when ... you hit a gate less than every one second, so it's risky. You're putting your life at risk. ... It's like driving drunk, only there are no rules about it in ski racing."

USSA President Bill Marolt replied: "As the leader of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association I'm proud of what our organization, our coaches and our teams have accomplished athletically this season. And we are excited about our opportunities as we head to the Olympics in Torino next month.

But the on-camera comments by Bode Miller on CBS‚ "60 Minutes" on Sunday (Jan. 8) relative to alcohol use in conjunction with competition are unacceptable within the values expected of U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association athletes.

Not only is the use of alcohol irresponsible on the part of an athlete, but it is also a dangerously inappropriate message to send to participants in our sport, especially young skiers and snowboarders.

As members of USSA, we expect Bode and all other athletes to be responsible for their actions and statements that adversely effect our organization and our sport. I will meet with Bode personally this week to discuss the issue and to work with him to both recognize the seriousness of his comments and to reach a positive outcome."

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Comments

Go Bode, Go

The mountains, they speak to us, and draw us with a sense of awe. Bode brings a smile to the face of so many because he loves the mountains and inspires others to go fast. However, the fact that a couple of hippies raised him cannot be overlooked. When will we develop a true mountain culture in this country, one that is based neither on the isolationism of the rugged individual, nor on the unthoughtful meanderings of the lost generation (the hippies)? Bode, win or lose, I will drink to your passionate schuss down the mountain, but I will never ski drunk.

Bode blues

Why bash Marolt? FIS was all over him, so he responded to them and US sponsors, which includes the US Olympic Committee (read US government; "the people"). Do you realize that groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) get people elected and defeated in America? Realism discussions must acknowledge this fact. From this perspective, Marolt was covering for USST and even Bode, else both could become the cause celebre of the next MADD campaign. Watch ski area insurance rates go up then!

As for Bode, the more you read about him, the more you have to like him and his family if you're into snow, idealism, racing, and freedom (and Bode is deeply into all). But, the big bad media will eat you alive if you're too honest. Either you deal with that in some brutally honest way (ie I will speak my mind regardless of any spin, and take full responsibility for what I said, including impacts on kids, alcoholics, drug users, etc.) or you keep quiet. Bode will do the former, so must acceot the consequences. I thought the apology was right. Bode does not have an alocohol problem, loves his famly and kids, and respects those who made his career possible. Frankly I find the party-boy image contrived (suggested this too). No great athlete parties hard and scores at will consistently - not even Mickey
Mantle or Babe Ruth, as history attests. Best wishes Bode.
Be healthy and good, go fast, have fun.

Bode Miller= Mickey Mantle

Please, great athletes like great performers and workers can separate hard partying and still show up for work. Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth and Steve Prefontaine just to name three. Let he who has partied very hard at night and woken up the next day and thought, Hey I don't feel as hungover as I should (because they were still a little under the influence) cast the first stones.

Also, as a downhill ski fan, he is winning and competing and is still coming out on top--in an obscure sport, so he is delivering and he is entertaining. He is also 28 years old and allowed to drink. I find his honesty a breath of fresh air and his no-excuses style should be the big lesson here. He is not blaming anyone for bad performances, he blames himself. But he is also unapollogetic. He is enjoying life. His way. And he is the only athelete I truly believe when he says, It ain't about the money.

Unfortunate Response

It is sad that Mr. Marolt is has seemed to feel required to limit his public remarks to his board of directors or funders. If the only way to finance the US Ski Team is to behave in this sort of reactionary, knee-jerk way, the World Cup ski racing is doomed to remain a "foreign" enterprise to Americans. Bode Miller, for all his efforts to find his way has a far better chance of connecting World Cup ski racing with its potential mass audience than does Mr. Marolt's representation of the USSA. Can you imagine the head of NASCAR behaving in this sort of way? Remember that NASCAR is financially successful, American World Cup skiing is not. And this sort of sport is about financial success, and only incidentally about sport. It is sad that the USSA has failed to see that Mr. Miller did not seem to be defending his actions by describing them. One can see that Mr. Miller is likely to try the patience of those who think they have built a remarkable team. Mr. Marolt would have been better off saying that he is glad that 60 Minutes showed that the US Ski Team had created the kind of environment in which Mr. Miller could understand that breaking training and showing up impaired was not smart and leave it at that. Even if they do not consider him part of the team, the team's administration lost its opportunity to take credit and, in stead, displayed an unattractive pique with its most successful "member."

Unacceptable Comments

I feel that Bode's comments were not acceptable. This is not because I care what he does because he has always done what he wanted to and there will be no stoping that, but I do care about the message that he is sending the younger generation of skiers. I am sure that there are alot of kids out that are very inspired by the way he races. He is a role model for these kids and as a role model there is no excuse for his comments because all it will take is for one kid to go to a race drunk and say well bode admited to doing it so I don't see why I can't do it. In my opinion he should just keep his comments to him self and do what he loves to do which is ski.

Find a ski resort that doesn't sell alcohol

middle east? private?

Bode's not manufactured...

Billy Kidd says it best in the current issue of SAM, "Not only is he the best skier in the world, he's a sportsman who competes for the love of the sport. His motivation is not money or fame [in contrast to most professional athelets], he just wants to go out and ski race and see how good he can be. That's rare among elite athletes. Bode brings attention to why we all like our sport so much--for the joy of participation."

He's real and likeable...Go Bode!

Culture

This is why our schools are broke and we take the money to build big stadiums. Values mean little to us today. Bode has said as much in his PUBLIC opinion on drugs in sports, alcohol, he could care less about the Olympics, and doesn't care whether he wins or not; why is he there. There is no doubt he has great talent, a good mind, and cares even less about the image he sets for the US, the team, ski racing, and more importantly the kids that follow him. I suppose he does understand marketing better than one post says he does!

Much Ado About Nothing

Funny, after the interview, which I found amusing, it never dawned on me that there would be any fall out. It didn't register with me as a big deal. And my friends who don't work in this industry all called and said they loved him and will be watching him at the Olympics. Why did they love him? Their first comment was about how he didn't seem to care about medals. Their second was that he was funny. USSA should stop making such a big deal about this and, instead, concentrate on the fact that we had one of our own on 60 Minutes. This is a huge opportunity for skiing and I can't think of someone more fun, interesting and talented than Bode to lead us their. People don't like boring athletes.

Enough Spin

OK, everybody has chimed in. The real question is: is there a rule that says no alcohol in bloodstream while racing? If there is not yet a rule, then shame on the USSA. If there is a rule, then shame on Bode. kenny@winterxbike.com

Remember when...

Remember when we all skied with Bota Bags?

Bode can be a catalyst for positive change at USSA/FIS

Bode's comment seem to reflect a frustration with the entire USSA/FIS's "stuffy establishment" which, decade after decade, still doesn't understand what sports marketing is all about and fail miserably at attracting the North American media to its various disciplines or sport forms. We are so much asleep at the wheel that we need folks like Bode Miller to tell us that the emperor has no clothes!

Forced To Tak A Public Position

Mr. Marolt had no choice but to take a public stand due to Mr. Bodes' public comments. After all, Mr. Marlot does represent more than Mr. Bodes' childish search for more and more attention to gain more and more money he says he doesn't need. Fine, I challenge sponsors to cancel with Mr. Bode for inappropriate actions like they would and have with others! Turn with your feet Mr. Bode and shut-up!

The Real Inappropriate Comments

Bill Marolt needs to chill out and take a vacation to the real world. The comments by Bode Miller reflect his approach to ski racing and life. Racing while still drunk from the night before is a very bad idea, and it shouldn't be promoted as a positive thing, but apparently it has happened in Bode's life, and he should be free to talk about it. The USSA needs to reach beyond the drones of the race circuit and connect with a more general audience, something Bode Miller seems well positioned to do. He should be embraced, faults and all. The obnoxious public comments in a press release by Mr. Marolt are inappropriate, and would be better offered in a private conversation with Mr. Miller.

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