In hindsight, I should have had eye surgery, says Miller

Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:19am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia (Reuters) - Bode Miller can see clearly, now that the pain has gone, where he went wrong in Sunday's Olympic downhill: He could not see clearly enough.

The most medaled U.S. Olympic Alpine skier of all time, racing in his fifth Games at the age of 36, told reporters on Tuesday that he needed laser eye surgery and should have had it earlier in the season.

Had he done so, the Sochi Games might already have seen Miller re-write the record books instead of being listed as an also-ran with a disappointing eighth place after starting as favorite.

"I don't win when the sun's not out," said Miller after completing a super-combined downhill training run down the same piste that saw his bright hopes of becoming the oldest Alpine gold medalist fade to grey two days earlier.

"I haven't won in five years when the sun's not out.

"I was supposed to get an eye surgery earlier this year. I have a great sponsor, an eye doctor, and we just never found the time to do it because the race schedule is so tight. We were pretty pissed off looking back that we hadn't figured out time to do that," he said.

Vision is critical for all downhillers, timed to the hundredth of a second as they twist and plunge down icy mountainsides through brilliant light and forest shade at speeds in excess of 130kph.

Any uncertainty, the slightest hesitation or deviation from the optimum line, can be cruelly punished on the clock.   Continued...

Bode Miller of the U.S. reacts after the downhill run of the men's alpine skiing super combined training session at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger