BORMIO, Italy - Skiing’s governing body plans to review whether Bode Miller intentionally skipped a compulsory bib draw in an attempt to receive a more favorable starting position for Sunday’s downhill.
“It’s a mockery,” International Ski Federation president Gian Franco Kasper told The Associated Press at the race, in which Miller finished fourth.
The American was the only competitor to miss Saturday’s compulsory draw, and was fined $933 by the FIS.
“Forest called me after the time was up,” FIS men’s race director Guenther Hujara said, referring to Forest Carey, the head coach of Miller’s independent squad. “The rules are very clear.”
Top racers like Miller are usually drawn to start from 15th to 25th, but by missing the draw he had to line up after 45th, and became the 46th starter.
The icy bottom section of the Stelvio course, the toughest part of the 2-mile run, would be out of the shade and in the sun for later starters.
Miller explained his absence by saying he was receiving medical attention after injuring himself slightly in training Saturday, adding that he didn’t mind being penalized.
“It was more my wrist is busted up and I needed to get it fixed,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about the repercussions.”
FIS official Mike Kertesz said the case will be forwarded to the federation’s appeals commission, and that Miller risks more punishment as a repeat offender.
“He’s definitely been late for a public draw in the past — late or not attending,” Kertesz said, adding that Miller’s fine could be increased to more than $4,500.
Public bib draws are held each race weekend on the World Cup circuit — usually in the host resort’s central square or plaza.
“There were 2,000 kids there, saying ’Where’s Bode, where’s Bode?’ and we have to announce that he’s been sanctioned, and it just puts a negative effect on the whole bib draw,” Kertesz said.
Miller also has a bad ankle and bruised ribs from a fall in Beaver Creek, Colo., earlier this month.
“He enters all the races and he’s banged up a bit. The doctors were taking care of him. He’s no spring chicken anymore,” Carey said, adding that gaining a later start position and the light issue “were a byproduct of it.”
Miller had sunnier conditions than nearly all of his chief rivals, and was faster than race winner Christof Innerhofer through the first two checkpoints before hitting a gate and losing time.
His start time was pushed back even further when two skiers crashed shortly before his run.
“It hurt a little bit when those two guys crashed. It would have been perfect had that not happened,” Miller said, referring to the light.
Miller won the downhill on the Stelvio last year and took gold in both downhill and super-G here at the 2005 world championships.
“With the conditions the way they are in Bormio right now — it’s freezing cold and rock hard — it doesn’t matter if you start with bib No. 100, you’re getting the same (snow) conditions, so it’s about the light,” Kertesz said. “We don’t want to have rules where if you break the rules you have an advantage.”
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