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Bode Miller brings his stubble and his attitude to a golf course.
Bode Miller brings his stubble and his attitude to a golf course. (GolfPublisher.com)

Ski god-turned-Olympic goat Bode Miller touts steroids and his short game

Chris BaldwinBy Chris Baldwin,

STATELINE, Nev. - Bode Miller wears three days' worth of stubble, but his eyes are bright - apparently Coors Light free - and his putter is steady. Maybe Lance Armstrong hit it right in that ESPYs joke. Maybe Miller really does only drink when he races.

That's a little cruel, of course. As are most jokes made at Miller's expense since he flamed out at the Winter Olympics, going 0-for-5 in his ski races after being hyped as a potential quintuple medalist going in.

The 2005 overall World Cup skiing champion made plenty of news for what he said and did off the slopes, unforgettably telling 60 Minutes he skied "wasted" and partying hard in the Olympic Village. But when the flame was extinguished in Turin and everyone sized up Bode Miller as a worldwide punch line, he remained resolutely unapologetic.

"Man, I rocked here," Miller said as he exited the Olympic spotlight, sans so much as a piece of bronze, let alone a handful of gold.

We caught up to Miller months later at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. He's just as sure of himself as ever, just as unfazed by the fuss.

And just as controversial, at one point seeming to encourage a steroid regiment for this writer (read on).

But Miller also wasn't one of the celebrities who could be found publicly partying all night at the Tahoe casinos. He wasn't one of the celebrities who turned down interviews, dodged questions or stiffed fans who wanted an autograph.

Bode Miller signed for his people after his golf round. And in truth, Bode's buds - his fans all appeared to be under 24 - seemed like they couldn't care less what he did, or didn't do, at the Olympics. They just looked like ski fans excited to meet the first American in 22 years to claim the title of world's best skier.

Q: How competitive do you get out on the golf course?

A: I just go around hitting the ball and trying to find it again. That's about all I do.

Q: Does having been in world-class competition under worldwide pressure - Olympics, skiing World Cup - help at all out on the golf course?

A: Regardless of whether you're super-competitive or not, you still get really nervous when you're playing in front of people. Whether you're tournament-competitive or not. I think in that sense it definitely helps to have that background.

Q: When did you first get into golf?

A: After high school. Just something to do when not skiing.

Q: You're known for taking risks in ski racing. What are the strengths of your golf game?

A: Usually my short game. But not today. It was pretty lousy today. But normally my short game. If I get off a good drive - if I don't lose the ball on my drive - I can score pretty well.

Q: Is golf something you could see yourself taking more seriously after your ski career's over?

A: It's hard to take it real serious. I mean it's a great sport, but it's not something I'm obsessed with. … Even if I was real good, I don't think I'd take it that seriously. The training isn't really that serious. This is about it. Walk around in the sun.

Q: What was your reaction to Lance Armstrong making that joke about you at ESPYs?

A: I thought it was good. That's the way it should be.

Q: Were you really surprised by the furor over the comments you made about Lance Armstrong in Rolling Stone? You did say he "knowingly cheated."

A: [The media responded] like it always does. People gossip. They jump on anything like that. Was it blown out of proportion more than other things? Maybe a little bit. Everything gets blown out of proportion.

Q: Are performance-enhancing drugs hurting sports?

A: What do you call aspirin? What do you call Creatine? What do you call vitamin C? Those are all the same thing. It's not any different than anything else. I don't know why everybody takes issue with [steroids].

I think they should not worry about it and let athletes do what they want to do - to be in proper training, proper diet. I wish the most performance-enhancing stuff on everybody in their life. I would wish you to enhance your performance as much as you could. Something that kills or causes bodily harm, that's not performance-enhancing

Q: So you never worried that your competitors in skiing could be taking something and have on edge on you?

A: Couldn't care less. It doesn't matter to me.

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

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