In the 1970s, Spider Sabich and Tyler Palmer rebelled against alpine chief Willy Schaeffler.
Miller is heir to an undistinguished American ski racing heritage.
An out-and-out racer right from the start of his career, Miller was willing to risk a crash in pursuit of victory and was destined to become one of his country’s greatest Alpine skiers.
A naturally gifted all-rounder, he competed at the very highest level in every Alpine discipline.
Contrary to his self-indulgent image, Miller embraces the sport’s heritage.
While other racers gobbled up World Cup points and money by specializing, Miller idealistically pursued the historic World Cup title of all-round skier, competing in every event. In suggesting before the Olympics that participation is his main goal, Miller, in fact, echoed the ideal of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who founded the modern Olympics.
“I don’t have to be what you want me to be,” he seems to say. Not coincidentally, Miller brings to skiing the kind of wondrous technique that Ali brought to boxing.
He failed to shut down the motor on the mouth that quipped it was convenient not to have to motor to Turin to accept a medal. It is sufficient today for an athlete not to win but to talk about his fantasies of meeting a certain figure skater or to perform a cockamamie stunt before the finish line and miss winning the gold medal. It was not the kind of publicity, however, that pleased Bill Marolt, the U. Ski Team’s chief executive officer and the architect of its recent successes, who had flown to Europe before the Olympics to give his best racer a verbal spanking.The reward of behaving like an arrested adolescent before or at the Olympics is that magazines and TV shows, which seldom cover winter sports, will play up any color and controversy they find. Asked later about athlete deportment during the Games, Marolt stiffened his lip and said that, “We will manage these situations with both short-term action with those involved.” The truth is that the U. Ski Team has never enjoyed much success in keeping its competitors in a state of sober obedience.Marolt’s own earlier governance in the 1980s drew resentment from the Mahre twins and wild Bill Johnson.Miller is the only American racer to have gold-medaled twice in a single alpine world championships.He is the first American to have won the overall World Cup title in more than 20 years.However, that insight, along with Bode’s weak performance leading up to the Games, was ignored by the national media as they played up the exotic story of a White Mountain Tarzan.