Why my Olympic experience with Bode Miller was not bodilicious

Bode Miller at the men’s downhill

Even in the womb, my son Bode had an Olympic connection–we named him after Bode Miller as we watched the Torino Games.

Since that day, I have dreamed of getting Bode’s autograph or posing for a picture with him. My dream finally became tangible when serendipity (a.k.a. the USOC) handed me tickets to the men’s downhill where Bode was competing on Monday.

Our Whistler accommodations at Creekside Village are not only luxurious but they’re also conveniently located at the base of the downhill run. We were given the option to take the chairlift or hike up the mountain.

I’ll let you guess which lane was more popular.

I’ve never attended a downhill event and was surprised to be almost outnumbered by Europeans in the stands. The Swiss, in particular, were in abundance toting their over-sized cowbells and reacting to every nuance on the mountain. Loudly.

View of the Men’s Downhill

Bode was scheduled to ski eighth. You’d have thought I was his own mother for how nervous I was for him. He was the overall World Cup champion when he went to Italy in 2006 and he came up short in five Alpine events. This was his chance for redemption.

The great thing about attending the downhill is you don’t miss a thing. Cameras capture the skier’s every move at the top of the mountain and it is broadcast live on a Jumbotron, I decided I would film the big screen and move to the actual ski slope as he barreled across the finish line.

The first part of my plan went accordingly. The second did not. There was a minor glitch: when I moved my Flip Video Camera over to film him directly, I couldn’t find him. I ended up capturing a really nice looking ski slope without anyone on it.

Evidently, I do not have a future in broadcast journalism.

It took Bode 54.40 seconds to achieve a measure of redemption for the Torino Games and win the bronze medal. He held a press conference later that afternoon and come hell or high water, I vowed to be there.

Or rather, come “dumb” and “dumber,” which was what happened to me.

I had spent the afternoon at the USA House getting interviewed by KOA radio and CNet about my Olympic experiences using the Office ’10 Beta. I was supposed to Skype in to Fox31 /Channel 2 in Denver but my continued Internet connection problems plagued me and I was running behind because of it.

I arrived at the Whistler Media Center with 10 minutes to spare. It was my first visit there and I spent the next few minutes trying to find the press conference room. I finally asked someone for directions.

You know. Because I’m female and I am allowed to do that.

Turns out, the press conference was at the Whistler Media House, which was on the other side of the pedestrian village. With mere moments to spare, I did what I do best: I freaked out and then sprinted to the WMH.

In my Sanitas clogs.

Through throngs of people.

And yes, it was every bit as ugly as it sounds.

I arrived breathless, sweaty and frazzled but most importantly: on time. I kicked back and listened to my son’s namesake field press questions.

Bode Miller Press Conference

Bode Miller has been vindicated by the media for his renegade attitude, particularly as it relates to commercialism at the Olympics. At the press conference, he was different than in Italy, penitent even, having finally achieved a sort of truce surrounding the inevitable pitfalls that come with this sport.

He blew off questions about his Olympic legacy, saying it could have been anyone’s day out there and he was 0.09 seconds behind the winner and 0.02 from second place. This margin between first and third is the smallest in Olympic history.

“I was really getting myself wound up and emotionally involved in what I was doing. It’s part of why I came back and raced. I was amped up.”

With this bronze medal and the two silvers he won eight years ago in Salt Lake City, he is the most decorated American in Olympic skiing.

An impressive Olympic legacy, even if he claims he doesn’t care about having one.

My plan was to approach him following the press conference but I did not anticipate he would be rushed away to attend the medal ceremony. Dejectedly, I left the building. As I was standing outside licking my wounds, I was approached by Kevin Neuendorf, Public Relations Manager for the USOC. Kevin has been integral in securing me event tickets and we had not yet met. He had recognized me from my blog.

The Hair is always a dead giveaway.

We chatted about my Olympic experience thus far. At one point, I lamented I had missed my opportunity to meet Bode Miller. It got worse when he said, “That’s really too bad. If I’d known you were coming, I could have had you meet him backstage following the press conference.”

The moral of this story is two-fold:

Sometimes it’s better just not to know what might have been.

And don’t judge a woman until you’ve run a mile in her clogs.

To follow Team USA updates and your favorite athletes’ Twitter feeds, be sure to go to USOCpressbox.org. Also, download your free copy of Microsoft Office ’10 Beta at officewintergames.com.

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