Culture

Bode Miller Apologizes for Saying Marriage May Have Hurt Female Skier's Performance

Bode Miller of the United States speaks to the media during a press conference following the Ladies' Downhill Training on February 2, 2015 in Beaver Creek, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

In one of the stupidest non-controversy controversies of the 2018 Winter Olympics—and there have been a lot of them—gold medal winner and NBC analyst Bode Miller is under fire for a comment he made about a female skier’s marriage.

During Austrian skier Anna Veith’s run in the women’s giant slalom event, Miller noted how “challenging” it is for married skiers to compete.

“The knee is certainly an issue,” Miller said, referring to Veith’s 2016 ACL injury. “I want to point out she also got married. And it’s historically very challenging to race on the World Cup with a family or being married. Not to blame the spouses, but I just want to toss it out there that it may be her husband’s fault.”

Veith finished 15th in her first run on Wednesday and 4th in her second, keeping her off the medal podium.

Of course, social media was lit up with people who don’t understand the challenges of marriage and a collective Internet nervous breakdown ensued.

Miller, of course, was “forced” to apologize for his transgression in the wake of the “controversy,” claiming that it was an “ill-advised attempt at a joke”

“I do apologize,” he said. “I was an athlete that competed after marriage, and I know how beneficial it is. I know the support team you need. On Valentine’s Day, I did not mean to throw spouses under the bus, and I’m going to be hearing it from my wife, I know.”

Not everyone was upset with the comment, though:

At the risk of reading too much into Miller’s comments, allow me to do just that.

First, I’m not sure the comment was a joke (except for the quip about her husband at the end). I wouldn’t be surprised if high-performance athletes regularly discuss the effects of marriage on performance. It’s quite possible that what Miller said just spilled over from prior debates and conversations with friends and fellow skiers.

Second, of course marriage is going to have an effect on how you perform your job — and not just for athletes. For some, it enhances performance, for others, it’s a distraction. Sports like skiing pose a particular challenge with their grueling travel schedules and rigorous training regimens. It’s not a crime to point that out (I suspect the people who do think it’s a crime are the same people who keep telling us that gender is a social construct so shut up).

Finally, can everyone please knock it off with all these fake controversies and freak-outs? Just enjoy the Olympics without the nervous breakdowns and virtue signaling. Thank you.

Follow me on Twitter: @pbolyard