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Bode Miller regrets not having eye surgery

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) - The way Bode Miller skis, vision is everything.

So it was somewhat surprising when the most decorated Alpine skier in U.S. ski team history revealed Tuesday that he needs Lasik eye surgery and regrets not having had it before the Olympics.

After dominating the training sessions, Miller finished a disappointing eighth in Sunday's downhill race.

"I was supposed to get an eye surgery earlier this year," said Miller, who has won five Olympic medals. "We just never found the time to do it because the race schedule was so tight. We were pretty (upset) looking back on that that we hadn't figured out a time to do that, because for me my vision is critical."

The downhill training sessions were held in clear sunshine, but clouds moved in for race day.

"When the light is perfect I can ski with any of the best guys in the world. When it goes out, my particular style suffers more than the guys who are more stable and sort of don't do as much in the middle of the turns," the 36-year-old Miller said after leading the opening training session for Friday's super-combined race, in which he is the defending gold medalist.

Miller spent Monday analyzing video to see what went wrong during his downhill run.

"At the end of the day we all kind of concluded the fault came down to me," Miller said. "Forest (Carey, an assistant coach with the U.S. team who has worked extensively with Miller for years) made it pretty concise in four words: 'I don't win when the sun is not out.'"

Miller agreed with the assessment.

"I haven't won in five years when the sun is not out," he said.

Miller took last season off to let his left knee fully recover from microfracture surgery. He has also been dealing with a lot off the slopes, including a custody battle over an infant son and the death of his younger brother in April of what was believed to be a seizure.

Still, he showed a return to form over the past month and had high hopes for the Olympic downhill, which was won by Matthias Mayer of Austria.

"It was a pretty big letdown. This was my main focus coming into the year," Miller said. "I think everyone wants to find the answers as to why it didn't go better."

Miller rejected debate about whether hitting a gate on the top section slowed him down.

"That in itself didn't slow me down at all," he said. "That turn was a (bad) turn but it was probably equal to the turns I made in the training runs there. The difference really was the snow conditions."

With the snow softer than during the training sessions, Miller's sharp-edged skis dug too far into the snow.

He wondered if it would have helped to change his equipment.

"In hindsight, yeah," he said. "But at the time I think we made the right choice. ... After winning the training runs the way we did it would be a tough call to be like, 'The weather is changing, we're just going to completely throw a dart in the dark and hope it hits.' We had to stick with what we knew."

Miller also acknowledged his frustration.

"I was angry for a little while, and disappointed. But really I skied hard. I really did ski with everything I have. So I didn't really feel like there was much to be too upset about," he said. "But I know this sport pretty well and when the conditions change like that you have to make the adjustments. And if you don't and someone else does than that's it."

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EzinWy February 11 2014 at 11:16 PM

A half a second from gold ... gee, Bode skied a pretty good race. I know we are talking 1/100 of a second on the clocks and every little mistake adds up to lost time. But as quick as you can say - one - that's how much he lost by ! The top eight all skied in 2min 6 sec + .xx - that's amazing to me. Give all a gold ! LOL

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gluwman February 11 2014 at 10:17 AM

When tenths of a second count, every imperfection is magnified. I can't see crap in the dark without my glasses.

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Joe McCullar February 11 2014 at 11:33 AM

I am sick of every four years this guy not getting it done and the excuses start rolling out!Move on and let some young talent go to the Olympics and win!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
luigi1947 Joe McCullar February 11 2014 at 11:42 AM

maybe you should go in his place

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ibefreed Joe McCullar February 11 2014 at 1:53 PM

you're sick? every 4 yrs not getting it done?

Miller's Olympic record -
five medals in the Winter Olympics, the most of any U.S. skier − two silvers (giant slalom and combined) in Salt Lake City 2002, and a gold (super combined), a silver (Super G) and a bronze (downhill) in Vancouver 2010. Miller is one of 5 skiers who have won Olympic medals in 4 different disciplines

YOUR record of accomplishment -
being an a-hole

well, that about sums it up.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
schlauger1 February 11 2014 at 10:32 AM

I can't for sure remember, but I do believe he wore those dark goggles on a cloudy day. Some clear ones might have helped. But for sure, quit making excuses.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
dubricus schlauger1 February 11 2014 at 11:00 AM

It's not an excuse to explain why you didn't do well... it's part of what you try hard not do the next time. All reporters ask all athletes & sports figures who don't win the same stupid question - "What happened?" The athletes all think the same thing, "I lost. What do you think happened?" My dad was a golf pro & every night at the dinner table after a game (which was always for money even if it wasn't a tournament), we'd hear a stroke by stroke account of the game. It was his way of replaying the game to understand where things had gone right & where things had gone wrong.... & all too often, it's pure chance - a ball hit 200 yds hits a 1/2" pebble lying in the grass in the fairway... or the only mud puddle on the course. The other guy's ball hits the edge of a cart path, takes a good bounce & lands 3ft from the hole. My dad had vision issues too.... as do I... & vision is extremely individual. I see better in most conditions with a dark green lens, but not dark gray. It seems counter-intuitive that dark lenses wouldn't be good for someone who wins in sunlight & loses in cloudy weather. If your vision is fuzzy due to near-sightedness, which make distant objects less distinct, dark glasses don't help the crispness of the vision, but they do cut glare, which can allow you to see shadows better. Nobody can know exactly what Bodie Miller is seeing - how he uses his vision when skiing - but Bodie Miller. It does go to show how the one thing that many athletes may have that makes them superior athletes is their vision.... & how they use it.

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thosholzel February 11 2014 at 10:45 AM

Oh, and he couldn't have worn glasses?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
jbaer10314 February 11 2014 at 11:05 AM

Could've gotten brain surgery too.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
andreasschiff February 11 2014 at 11:11 AM

There is always a reson why somone loses in Sports.
Most of the time it is that someone else was better on that day.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
madkono February 11 2014 at 11:11 AM

whats nbc's track record, in glorifying athletes??? miller and celski, both gone!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
evonie55 February 11 2014 at 11:20 AM

Stop making excuses for you not winning the Gold or any metal....You didn't ski your best.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
Ashley February 11 2014 at 11:28 AM

Really? You've know about this issue for 5 years and just couldn't find the time to correct it before the Olympics? That's quite the cop-out.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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