Bode Miller’s take on doping in alpine skiing: Legalize It?Bode Miller has a reputation for thinking outside of the box. Some of his arguments – against inspection at Wengen, for instance, or in favor of carbon-fiber ski boots – have been pretty original and entertaining.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when asked about the prevalence of doping in alpine ski racing, Miller offered a unique argument for legalizing the use of performance-enhancing drugs.


‘I’m surprised it’s illegal’ Miller said, ‘because in our sport, it would be pretty minimal health risks, and it would actually make it safer for the athletes, because you’d have less chance of making a mistake at the bottom and killing yourself.’

That burn you feel in your legs at the bottom of a course? That indicates anaerobic oxygen depletion of your blood. Miller reasons your brain is similarly effected.

Endurance-boosting drugs such as erythropoietin, which is very much banned in Olympic sports, would help keep oxygen flowing to the brain, allowing skiers to make safer decisions, Miller said.

‘You have to make four or five decisions every second in skiing, every turn’ said the overall World Cup champion. ‘[These are] conscious decisions, plus there’s another hundred that are instinct. And when your brain starts to slow down, as if you’re holding your breath for two minutes, it makes it damn hard to make those decisions.’

Asked for her perspective on this idea, the secretary general of the FIS, Sarah Lewis, said, ‘Bode is renowned for making off-the-wall-type statements. That he now sees himself as qualified to comment on regulations about doping is interesting, to say the least…

‘Should the persons responsible for World Cup courses think the athletes were making themselves overextended for what a trained man or woman could accomplish safely, there would be changes to the technical parts of the course, not the introduction of artificial methods or substances, which not only is cheating, but has potentially disastrous effects on an athlete’s health.’

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