Bode Miller keeps open possibility of return to ski team
At the moment, Bode Miller is preparing to change diapers, not charge down a mountain.
Although, he is keeping his ski racing options open even as his wife gets ready to deliver their child anytime now.
The six-time Olympic medalist accepted a nomination Thursday to be a part of the U.S. Ski Team in 2015-16. His acceptance doesn't necessarily mean he will be back in a World Cup starting gate or, casting an even further glance down the road, around for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
This decision only guarantees him funding, facilities and coaching should he choose a return over retirement.
Miller has more time to decide - the official U.S. team won't be named until this fall.
''The one thing I've learned over the years is keep an open mind with Bode,'' U.S. men's coach Sasha Rearick said in a phone interview. ''I don't lose sleep on whether Bode is going to ski or not because it's Bode who's going to decide that. He qualifies for the team. He's expressed interest to be part of the team. What level he's doing and participating next year is really to be determined and for all of us to keep an eye out.''
No pressure, either.
''When Bode calls me and tells me he wants to race or train or put something together, I'm always here for him and will do everything I can,'' Rearick said. ''When those phone calls come or those messages come, I know he's 100 percent committed.''
Other than Miller, there were no real surprises on the nomination list. Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety were all on the ''A'' team. Vonn is coming off a season in which she broke Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell's career record for World Cup race wins.
The last time the world saw Miller on the slopes was in February, when he crashed during the super-G at the world championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and severed his right hamstring tendon.
Soon after surgery, Miller said he was going to carefully weigh his options. The 37-year-old Miller wasn't sure if he wanted to commit all his time and energy to training with a baby on the way.
Especially after all he endured just to make it back in time for world championships. Miller, who's from Franconia, New Hampshire, had surgery last November to fix a herniated disk in his back and was competing in his first event of the season when he cut a gate too close and hooked his left arm, sending him spiraling out of control.
In typical Miller fashion, he almost recovered. But then one ski popped off, followed by the other as he somersaulted down the slope, and he landed on one of his sharp skis. It opened up a gash that led to immediate surgery.
There went the rest of worlds.
At the time, Miller said he was at peace should his racing days indeed be over because it's been ''an amazing ride.''
''I've done it for a long time and happy with the way I've gone through my career,'' he said in February. ''Ideally, you'd like to pick how you finish. Sometimes, you don't.''
Over his distinguished career, Miller has won 33 World Cup races and two overall titles. He's captured three Olympic silver medals and two bronze to go with that gold in the super-combined at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Away from the slopes, Miller's hobbies include golf and horse racing. He also works closely with the Turtle Ridge Foundation, an organization he started that helps kids take part in recreational activities.
He married pro volleyball player Morgan Miller in 2012.
Also accepting nominations to join the men's ''A'' squad next season were: David Chodounsky, Travis Ganong, Tim Jitloff, Steven Nyman, Marco Sullivan and Andrew Weibrecht. On the women's side, the list also included: Stacey Cook, Alice McKennis, Laurenne Ross, Leanne Smith and Resi Stiegler.