COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. – Whether it’s in life or on the slopes, Bode Miller charges after what he wants at a breathless speed.
The U.S. skier simply doesn’t do slow.
On the course, that go-for-broke approach has served him quite well — 33 World Cup wins, two overall titles and five Olympic medals.
Off it, too: He met pro volleyball player Morgan Beck in May and five months later they were married in a private ceremony on his boat. He also fancied owning a racehorse and recently partnered with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s wife to purchase a 2-year-old colt.
But now comes the difficult part: slowing down for a bit.
Miller is coming off a major knee injury and it’s taking time to get back to full speed. Maybe years ago, when Miller was much more impatient and racing meant just about everything to him, he might have gambled and returned before he was ready.
Not at 35, though, and in the twilight of his career. He insisted he’s in no rush to click back into his skis and compete. If he has to miss a few races to allow the left knee to heal after microfracture surgery just nine months ago, so be it.
“There’s no gain to come back and race a few races, and get away with it a few times and then screw up my knee and have to retire,” Miller said.
He’s definitely out for the World Cup stop in Lake Louise, Alberta, next weekend. And he probably won’t be ready to race in Beaver Creek, Colo., either, even though he is the defending downhill champion on the demanding Birds of Prey course.
Ask him when he hopes to return and he’ll just smirk.
“Hope doesn’t play much part in it. You can hope for a (winning) Megabucks ticket or hope for anything else,” said Miller, who was scheduled to attend the U.S. ski team’s introduction ceremony Thursday night in Vail.
“The fact is it’s an injury that takes a long time to heal. If you come back too soon, you really do risk undoing the surgery and putting yourself back to square one.”
Miller’s in a good place — a real good place — even if he can’t compete. As he walked from room to room at a hotel to conduct interviews for the ski team Wednesday, he held the hand of his wife.
Just a few months ago, Miller didn’t know Morgan Beck.
But she definitely knew of him.
Her first encounter with Miller was when she was a teenager and attending the 2002 Salt Lake City Games with her parents. She was doing her English homework one night when loud music began blaring from the condo next door.
“My parents went outside and it was Bode Miller. They were like, ‘That Bode Miller!’ recounted Morgan Miller, who changed her last name after they were wed on Oct. 7.
“Little did we know that 10 years later I was going to marry the guy.”
This is how they met: Miller was visiting his agent, Lowell Taub, when he happened to see a picture of Morgan hanging on the wall. He asked all about her. He later gave her a call when she was at a beach volleyball tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Miller happened to be in town as well to pick up a new houseboat. He asked if he could come out and watch.
Her initial response was no. She didn’t want to be nervous with him in the stands.
She relented and he showed up. They’ve been inseparable ever since.
They were married on his houseboat in San Diego, with just the wedding officiant, a photographer and their cat in attendance.
“Bode had the mentality that if you know it’s right, then there’s no point in waiting,” said Morgan Miller, who was an outside hitter at California. “It’s great.”