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The latest on the 60 Minutes Bode Miller controversy

The latest on the “60 Minutes” Bode Miller controversy{mosimage}WENGEN, Switzerland – With the 76th annual Lauberhorn race on the horizon, the ski racing world is braced for something that no one remembers ever seeing before: an apology, perhaps, from Bode Miller.

“Bode is going to confer with U.S. Ski Team officials, and it’s my expectation that he will release some sort of statement by the end of this week,” said Lowell Taub, Miller’s agent in New York.

It may not be an apology at all, but men’s head coach Phil McNichol said it needs to be something. “I don’t think the end of the world is coming,” said McNichol. But he’s certain that a strong message will be delivered, and that it’s high time for that to happen.

“It’s gone on long enough, and this is another step beyond the playing field. If [the comments] were out of context, and not the image that he wants the youth to hear, than that should be said. If not, he should stand behind it.”

United States Ski and Snowboard Asssociation president and CEO Bill Marolt is in Wengen, Switzerland, to reprimand Miller for statements he made about alcohol and skiing on the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”

The comments were a very small part of the segment, which received rave reviews from most hardcore ski racing fans. The producer, Cathy Olian, said that the reaction from the general public had been overwhelmingly positive.

Olian did not write the press release promoting the show in advance, which Sports Illustrated blasted as a “superficial cheap shot”. Kevin Tedesco, who wrote the release, defended it on Monday.

Miller hasn’t spoken to the media, and didn’t speak to any reporters over the weekend in Adelboden. But he wrote about the flap in an online journal at the Denver Post.

On Monday, 33 readers of Skiracing.com sent in their thoughts about the issue, most of them – but not all – defending Miller.

“Bode’s putting a leash on a tornado,” said McNichol, adding that the team’s reaction reflects a cumulative frustration with the skier. “Up until the last 18 to 24 months, the team has done a pretty decent job trying to manage a guy who doesn’t want to be managed. It’s progressing to a point where … most of the guys have become pretty callous to its effecting them, but they’ve definitely become a little fed up.”

Miller’s friend and teammate Erik Schlopy says he is not worried about Miller, who has had a great career. “He’ll be fine,” said Schlopy. “He always says what makes him happy anyway.”

But Schlopy has lost touch with Miller, with whom he once shared an apartment in Austria. “I haven’t talked to him in a couple months,” said Schlopy. “He lives in his RV and he trains with the speed team, so I literally haven’t seen him at all.”

Downhiller Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein has lived in the United States and trains with the Swiss. For all intents and purposes, he is a member of the Swiss ski team.

“We talk about it,” he said of Miller’s recent controversial statements. “My personal view is, I ask myself if he’s serious. Bode’s a big talker.” Buechel added that he liked that as an antidote to the straightlaced Swiss, but that sometimes the comments had crossed a line.

What do you think?


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