The Sad Howl of the Lone Wolf

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By Tony Kornheiser
Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm probably the only one who's saying this now, but I feel badly for Bode Miller. Even as he continues to brag about how he "rocked" at Turin, and how he's "comfortable with what [he] accomplished at the Olympics."

What Bode accomplished was making himself one of the more colossal losers in recent sports history. He's right there with Tony Mandarich and Ryan Leaf. No matter what Bode wins from here on, folks will think of him as a failure at best, a joke at worst. Deep down, he must know that. Isn't that why he insists he's thrilled with his "quality of life," a catchphrase that sounds good but means nothing? Isn't it obvious that Bode's bluster is a transparent defense mechanism?

Bode was a shrewd choice for Olympics poster boy. He was quite accomplished on the world ski circuit, and had the X-factor in terms of personality -- rough around the edges, outspoken, handsome, home-schooled, rebellious, anti-establishment. Bode Miller looked like skiing's answer to Allen Iverson. The difference turned out to be that when you gave Iverson the ball, he scored. Bode was shut out in Turin. He took the collar in five races. Ultimately, when those "Join Bode" ads ran on TV, the American public didn't know whether to cringe or laugh.

Bode's sin, clearly, was hubris. For years he aggressively shouted his disdain for the media and the money. But suddenly there he was, grabbing for both on every TV show and magazine cover. Bode went against his instincts and cooperated with the media in what eventually became his own sad self-demolition.

Nobody takes a harder fall than the guy who is propped up the highest. Bode thought he could outsmart the smart guys and outrun the hounds. But nobody ever does. Look at him now, left on the side of the road, rockin' alone.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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