The surprise medal came after a long year in which Miller lost his younger brother. From CBS Sports:
The guy who for years and years insisted results don’t mean much to him declared he actually did care about this one. The last year has been a difficult one for Miller: the death of his younger brother, Chelone, in April 2013; the court fight over custody of his infant son; the work it took to come back from left knee surgery and return to the Alpine apex.
“It’s almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths,” said Miller, who grew up in New Hampshire and is now based in California. “Some days … medals don’t matter, and today was one of the ones where it does.”
He wiped away tears in the finish area after someone mentioned Chelone, a charismatic snowboarder who was 29 and hoping to make the U.S. team in Sochi when he died of what was believed to be a seizure.
Thanks for all the support, today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 16, 2014
Fighting back tears, Miller joined NBC reporter Christin Cooper for a post-race interview and things went off the rails as Cooper asked multiple questions about Miller’s dead brother as the skier became more and more upset.
Deadspin published a transcript of the interview, which left Miller bent over the fence in tears.
Cooper: For a guy who said the medals don’t really matter, they aren’t “the thing,” you’ve amassed quite a collection. What does this one mean to you in terms of all the others?
Miller: This was a little different. With my brother passing away, I really wanted to come back here and race the way he sends it. So this was a little different.
Cooper: Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here. What’s going through your mind?
Miller: A lot, obviously. Just a long struggle coming in here. Just a tough year.
Cooper: I know you wanted to be here with Chelly experiencing these games, how much does it mean to you to come up with a great performance for him? And was it for him?
Miller: I mean, I don’t know if it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and…I don’t know, I guess make myself proud.
Cooper: When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?
Cooper is taking heat for her rough interview tactics.
NBC reporter Christian Cooper ruins Bode Miller’s happy moment while chasing her own emotional interview glory. Horrible! #bronzebode— Rick Jaramillo (@Jaram2323) February 17, 2014
Miller is taking the high road, asking via Twitter Monday morning for people to ease up on Cooper.
I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
And he clearly wasn’t holding the interview against NBC, Miller made an appearance on “Today.”