Bode Miller cuts season short again

By Andrew Dampf

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 9 2011 7:44 a.m. MST

ROME — Bode Miller has cut short his World Cup ski season for the third consecutive year and it's uncertain whether he'll be back next season.

The former two-time overall World Cup champion has again decided to spend more time with his daughter in San Diego, the U.S. Ski Team told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Miller failed to finish in the top 10 in his four events at last month's world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He then skipped the last two World Cup stops in Bansko, Bulgaria, and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

The U.S. team had been expecting him back for this weekend's races in Kvitfjell, Norway. The 33-year-old Miller will also miss next week's World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. He ends the season with three podium finishes but no victories.

Miller won a full array of medals at last year's Vancouver Olympics — a gold, a silver and a bronze — but said he struggled with motivation this season.

"If the conditions are good and everything comes together then I'm pretty into it, but sometimes it's hard to get really fired up for it," Miller told The AP after his final race at the worlds.

"I'm still always fired up and I always charge, but it's not the same as it should be. If you're racing World Cup and you're risking your health and everything you should be in it 100 percent. If it's not then you have to have the discipline and maturity to say when, because you probably shouldn't be doing it. I've seen guys get hurt."

Miller's coaches have been urging him to race just the speed events, as many racers of his level do near the end of their careers, but the American has continued to compete in all disciplines.

Miller said he has discussed his options with retired racers Lasse Kjus, Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Bruno Kernen.

"I've thought about it. I've asked old champions, sought out their opinions about it," Miller said. "But I don't think it's exactly the same. No American has come close to the number of races I've done, and it is certainly different for Americans. Those guys could easily get home and be more in their environment when they had days off. If they skipped a race or two they could go home right away. For me, it's a long ways away."

Miller said his daughter is "really on the other side of the planet" from most of his races in Europe.

Miller has competed in 380 World Cup races, as well as 15 races at four Olympics stretching back to the 1998 Nagano Games, and 28 races at seven world championships beginning in Vail, Colorado, in 1999.

Miller is not considering coaching after retirement, at least not with the U.S. team.

"Not at this level," he said. "I like working with kids. You can really have an impact on a younger skier just by showing him how to stay relaxed, just enjoy it and not get too stressed out, and point out the obvious things about skiing that little kids tend to forget about."

Miller did television commentary for Eurosport during the worlds, but doesn't see much of a future in TV either.

"I doubt it," he said. "It's OK. I love talking about ski racing, it's what I do, and as long as I have freedom to talk about whatever I want I don't mind doing that but I don't like jobs, either."

Miller also contemplated retirement before returning for the Olympics last season.

In his final race at the worlds last month, Miller finished just 12th in the giant slalom but had the fastest second run. U.S. teammate Ted Ligety won the race for his first world title.

Ligety didn't see that as Miller's final race.

"I have this feeling that Bode will keep going," Ligety said. "He still likes it and I think he has enjoyment out of it and I think he still feels like he can be competitive. You never know with Bode obviously, but I think he still has some mileage left."

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