- Men's Super G
Miller breaks down in post-race interview, later defends reporter
After winning a bronze medal in Sunday’s super-G and becoming the oldest medalist in Olympic alpine skiing history, Bode Miller stood for an NBC interview. He was asked how his sixth Winter Games medal felt different than the rest. The resulting talk with NBC’s Christin Cooper was as raw and emotional as an interview at a sporting event can get, as Miller talked about his younger brother Chilly, who died last year of an apparent seizure thought to be related to a brain injury from an old motorcycle accident. The camera zoomed in tight as Bode spoke.
Miller: This was a little different. With my brother passing away, I really wanted to come back here and race the way he sends it. So this was a little different.
Cooper: Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here. What’s going through your mind?
Miller: (Long pause) A lot, obviously. A long struggle coming in here. And, uh, just a tough year.
Cooper: I know you wanted to be here with Chilly experiencing these games, how much does it mean to you to come up with a great performance for him? And was it for him?
Miller: I mean, I don’t know it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and uh — I don’t know, I guess make my self proud. (Pauses, then wipes away tears.)
Cooper: When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?
After that question, Miller fell to his knees and rested himself on a fence separating him from Cooper. The NBC interviewer could be heard whispering “sorry” and gently put her hand on Miller’s shoulder before he walked away a few seconds later.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Bode Miller's emotional Sochi super-G bronze
Cooper was the subject of some criticism on Twitter for pressing with the interview after it was clear Miller was getting emotional. Though the chat could have stopped when Miller shed a tear after what would be his last words, it was Miller himself who initially brought up his brother and appeared interested in talking about him during the interview. When that proved too hard for Miller, Cooper backed off and offered her hand.
Later, Miller sent a tweet in which all the words he couldn’t say were summed up with one heartbreaking line.
I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
After the uproar made the news, Miller asked that his fans be civil to Cooper and defended the questions asked of him.
Thanks for all the support, today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 16, 2014
My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain.— Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
In a Monday morning interview on the TODAY Show, Bode Miller defended Miller again. He said,"I don't blame her at all. I feel terrible she's taking the heat for that."
Embedded video_content_type: TODAY: Bode Miller doesn't blame Christin Cooper for emotional interview
NBC released a statement Monday morning acknowledging the controversy, but defending its handling of the interview and coverage.
“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal. We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far, but it was our judgment that his answers were a necessary part of the story. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”
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