Six-time alpine-ski Olympic medalist Bode Miller will be at the 2018 Winter Olympics as a commentator for both NBC and Eurosport. Here, he discusses skiing under pressure, his new on-air gig, and who to watch at this year’s games.
Describe your new job.
I’ll be giving firsthand insight from an athlete’s perspective like John McEnroe does with tennis or Randy Moss with football. I skied in five Olympics, so I know more about being a competitive racer—and the feelings, emotions, and pressure—than most commentators.
You’ve been known to call races, uh, honestly, to say the very least.
I might seem harsh, but that’s just how I talk about the sport. Watch the world’s best skier, and you’ll still find little mistakes. That just shows the difficulty of the sport. Nobody knows how hard it is better than me; I’ve crashed more than anybody.
Which skiers should we watch out for this year?
There’s so much pressure at the Olympics, so having competed a few times makes a huge difference. People who’ve shown they can perform under that stress are the ones to follow—Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin. But there are always young guys, such as Travis Ganong and Jared Goldberg this year, who can pull an upset.
Do you wish you were still competing?
I feel good about retiring. I accomplished what I wanted to and finished in one piece.
C’mon…you’ll miss it a little bit.
I doubt it. Racing is exciting, but each time I stepped in the starting gate, I knew I was risking my life and my health.
You’re now a partner and head of innovation for Aztech Mountain and Bomber Skis. What inspired that?
I’ve built a lot of skis over the years and have a pretty good handle on it, so it was a natural decision. From the start, our plan was to do the best we could, using the same materials in all of our skis that other companies only put in their super-high-end race models. I wanted to design skis that work well no matter the condition or time of day. That’s the same with Aztech. We’re putting high-end fabrics in their proper places and we want to be major players for the next 30, 40, 50 years.