Bode Miller: Return to slopes unclear

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Friday, February 6, 2015

BEAVER CREEK, Colo. -- Bode Miller said if his crash at the world championships was indeed his last race he's all right with that because his career has been "an amazing ride."

In his first interview since surgery on his severed right hamstring tendon, Miller told The Associated Press on Friday he is still deciding whether to return next season. The 37-year-old skier and his wife have a baby due in May, and Miller doesn't want to race if he "can't commit the time and energy to get the preparation done.

"The preparation is pretty demanding, requires summers and requires unbelievable commitment to fitness and the dry-land program," he added. "That's just really hard to juggle with my priorities right now. I love racing. But I just don't know."

The six-time Olympic medalist sustained a deep cut when his ski sliced him in the crash during the super-G. Another cut inside severed the tendon. He tried to get doctors to sew up only the outside -- and deal with the tendon later -- so he could race Saturday in the downhill.

"If I was tougher than I am, I probably could've had them sew the thing up and leave the hamstring tendon completely cut," Miller said.

Hard to question his toughness. Miller has made a living out of recovering from big crashes and injuries. He had back surgery in November, but returned in time to race at the worlds, his goal all along.

Miller was skiing well Thursday and in the lead and already looking toward the next gate. That's when the one he was passing proved troublesome.

"The gate just didn't break away," Miller explained. "It really stuck on my arm and just jerked me down. It was so quick. I had no chance to make a recovery."

He skied down to the finish, waved to the crowd, hugged his family and then went to the hospital for surgery.

A day later, he was still feeling "a little banged up."

But he quickly added, "I would be skiing today if I hadn't got that tendon. When I first did it, I really thought I'd be OK. The cut they showed on TV? There was another cut inside of that one that cut the tendon in half. That was the deal breaker."

Asked if he might make a return, even for just a send-off, Miller chuckled.

"I've said it for years -- I'm OK with whatever," Miller said. "I don't need a dramatic -- that (crash) was dramatic -- but I don't need a special finish. My body of work is what it is. I've done it for a long time and happy with the way I've gone through my career.

"Ideally, you'd like to pick how you finish. Sometimes, you don't."