Bode

<b>Bob Simon</b> Profiles America's Top-Ranked Skier


Miller is also known for racing into controversies. He caused quite a stir recently when he said that athletes should only be tested for drugs which are dangerous to their health. Otherwise, he says, leave the athletes alone.

Miller, who has never flunked a drug test, finds the whole process humiliating.

"I just think it's degrading, you know. And it's insulting," he says. "I mean they make you go to the bathroom and pull your pants down to your knees, you know, and hold your shirt up to your chin and pee in a little cup. And it's like you're guilty until proven innocent."

The outspoken American is the darling of the ski set, especially in Europe. He is mobbed by the media, by autograph seekers, by schoolchildren, and by women. When he travels in Europe, he lives in an RV with a friend to try and win some privacy.

He has 13 corporate sponsors. In a sport that people do for love, not money, Bode Miller has become a multi-millionaire which, he says, is a big problem.

"It's a constant struggle. It's really an awesome, corrupting force," he says.

How was he corrupted?

"As soon as you start having millions of dollars, you literally don't any longer have money as a motivating force, unless you just simply try to continue to acquire more and more of it," says Miller. "And that process is about as unhealthy as anything else I can think of. So, the acquisition of money alone is a terrible, terrible goal."

Miller says his goal is having fun. And, according to his coaches, he often has too much of that, especially during the ski season.

Does he think his partying has ever interfered with his performance?

"Definitely. There's been times when I've been in really tough shape at the top of the course," says Miller.

"Talk about a hard challenge right there. I mean, if you ever tried to ski when you're wasted, it's not easy. Try and ski a slalom when the gates are," Miller says, making a hand motion. "You hit a gate less than every one a second, so it's risky, you know. You're putting your life at risk there. It's like driving drunk only there's no rules about it in ski racing."

Is he saying he'll never do it again?

"No. I'm not saying that," Miller says.

"It's very, very dangerous. It'll be tragic the day we're standing there and we end up seeing him in a heap in a pile," says coach Mike Morin.

People worry because this easy going guy never takes it easy. It's not that he is afraid of losing. He doesn't care that much about winning.

For Bode Miller, it's about the perfect run, about flying down that mountain alone, turning a sport into an art form and leaving the world behind.
By Cathy Olian