Mellow Miller missing the old vibes

Thu Feb 6, 2014 12:23pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Alpine skiing's former wild man Bode Miller has a problem and he hopes to cure it in time for Sunday's Olympic downhill.

Few racers push the limits quite like Miller in a 17-year career that has made him America's most decorated male skier with his medals won on guts, adrenaline and a natural feel for snow acquired growing in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

His off-piste activities have often been as colorful as his maverick skiing style so it was strange listening to the 36-year-old describe himself as having "emotional arousal control" on Thursday just as his fifth Olympics got under way.

Miller blasted down Rosa Khutor's sun-kissed Olympic course to top the timesheets in the first training run but said the mellowing of his personality means he is not as revved up for this Games compared to previous ones.

"Not to take anything away from the Olympics but it just isn't the same after you've done as many time as I have," Miller told a U.S. team news conference on Thursday.

With the likes of Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal blocking his path to adding a downhill gold to the five other Olympic medals in his collection before he hangs up his racing boots, Miller knows he needs to be at full tilt at the weekend.

"Maybe perspective and age and stuff you see the advantages of being not just young but kind of maybe a little bit more naive about things and a little bit more excitable," he said.

"Having a kind of emotional arousal control can be a hindrance at times.   Continued...

Bode Miller of the U.S. speeds down the course in the first training session for the men's alpine skiing downhill event during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 6, 2014. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler