The contradictory essence of Bode

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — It has been 12 years since Bode Miller won his first Olympic medals, in Salt Lake City. He is 36 now and these are surely his last Olympic Games.  He is at once one of the most accomplished and one of the most complex figures ever to make his way across the American and international sports landscape.

Bode Miller and his wife Morgan leave the course after the men's giant slalom, his last race at the 2014 Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

No question he is the best ski racer the United States has ever produced. He has six Olympic medals, including a bronze in the super-G here. He has two overall World Cup titles, 33 World Cup wins, 78 World Cup podium finishes. He is is also one of only five skiers to win World Cup races in five disciplines.

As Miller has often maintained, he doesn’t ski for the medals.

And it is here that the contradictions of Bode Miller clash, often visibly, sometimes — as in Torino in 2006, when he wasn’t feeling it — to his great detriment. This can be no surprise. Great artists come layered with rippled currents of contradiction that play out to powerful effect and in different directions.

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