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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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hornet32j February 12 2014 at 12:12 PM

Bode go home get a job get a life .

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laugh February 12 2014 at 7:28 AM

His 6th Olympics. He IS the Brett Favre of Skiing. Sometimes you just can't give it up and as long as he has sponors to support him.......

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kmkiaski February 12 2014 at 12:21 PM

They support him because he's good. A lot of the top skiers were in that next half second, pretty close. Would Lasik have made him win? Maybe. But maybe not, and maybe he wasn't ready. It's hard to let someone operate on your eyes. Ditto for changing his equipment. Maybe it would have made him faster, maybe not. You never know, and second guessing yourself afterward is useless. And so is telling people about it, they just all second guess you.

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Tom February 12 2014 at 1:02 AM

If he needs lasik eye surgery then why didn't he get it done last year when he took the year off? His eye condition--if he has one--didn't develop overnight. I admire his talent but he's been an aloof loner jerk a lot of times. And now he's whining.

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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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Leary February 11 2014 at 9:03 PM

Um contacts are out there. Somebody drug test this guy

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jaywpb February 11 2014 at 8:27 PM

What a whinner!! Hope we don't have to listen to how he'll win in 2018 for the next four years. Fave iot Bod, you aren't the best in the world so stop making excuses.

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luigi1947 February 11 2014 at 6:06 PM

pretty sad when you read all those negative remarks from people that would not even be good enough to carry Bode's lunch

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jaywpb February 11 2014 at 8:28 PM

That may be true but I'm not publically whinning like a five year old.

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kmkiaski February 12 2014 at 12:24 PM

He's just musing about what he could have done better. Granted people like you don't want to hear it though, but then you've never lost a race by less than half a second. Pffft!

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Pinot Man February 11 2014 at 5:37 PM


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kmkiaski February 12 2014 at 12:25 PM

Choked? Hardly, if the first eight times were less than a half second off. Choking is when you don't do it, not when you're all that close.

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Finchie February 11 2014 at 3:10 PM

That's a lame excuse. Lasik takes less than 30 minutes and are released the next day to your regular schedule.

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kmkiaski February 12 2014 at 12:27 PM

He's just wondering if that's why he can't see when the course is shaded. Haven't you ever figured something like that out, and then gone duh? But before that, he might not be all that hot to let someone at his eyes. I know people who waited 20 years to get Lasik.

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DAVE61353 February 11 2014 at 2:55 PM

Get a real job Bode...time to grow up.

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kmkiaski February 12 2014 at 12:34 PM

Ah, but then we'd never get to see him ski again... I saw the two practice runs and he was amazing on those edges, especially for someone who'd had knee surgery. He had a good doctor. I saw his main competitor, who only finished fourth, and he wasn't half as good. And yet neither of them won, changing conditions, equipment, or whatever... if eight people finish within a half a second, that's pretty darn close.

I once saw him in a European race and he lost a ski at the top of the course - and he proceeded to ski down the course on ONE ski, and all the while the two Italian commentators were going on about how amazing he was, with amazing good humor. It was hilarious, who else could/would do that? I like the guy, he's just one of a kind funny.

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