We get it by now, Bode.
You aren’t completely comfortable with the multi-national corporations, broadcast networks, drug rules, Johnny-come-lately fans and ignorant press. You want to be a skier, not The Skier. You need your space, dude.
This is all fine by The Expert, who is a long-time hippie/vegetarian at heart. But even as Miller spouts the rebel doctrine, he seems intent on extracting millions of dollars from the mountains around Turin.
Miller has endorsements with Sirius Satellite Radio and Nike. He has an autobiography out through Villard Books, released to take full advantage of the run-up to the Olympics.
So he is trying to have it both ways, and that is usually a quick route downhill. We’d love to see Miller reject all commercialization, for real. But if he’s going to wear the corporate colors, then he may as well get in the same ski lift line as everybody else.
The last Olympics, no doubt in the greatest winter city on earth, were kind to the Americans in the medal count. Is there any chance that we can equal, or better, the American medal count set in Salt Lake City?
-Tony, Salt Lake City
Traditionally, nations peak in the medal count when they are hosts. The U.S. captured 34 medals at Salt Lake, compared to only 13 medals four years earlier in Nagano.
But with the depth of this U.S. contingent in speedskating, with alpine stars like Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves, and with the help of all these new hybrid judging events like snowboardcross, I can see the Americans making a run at 34 again. Certainly, the USOC is expecting it.
Why can't the U.S. field a decent figure skating pairs team?
-Christie Bleck, Lansing Mich.
You need a teeny-tiny woman and a big, brawny man for pairs, and they need to work together for many years, and not get on each other’s nerves. This is a tall order, and America’s best skaters are traditionally channeled into singles events, leaving pairs and ice dancing threadbare.
Now, however, the pendulum has swung. Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto of the U.S. are likely to win a medal in ice dancing for the first time since Innsbruck, ’76. I guess it helps to steal other country’s skaters.
U.S. Olympic hopefuls
A look at athletes who have the best shot at gold in Turin.