- Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Churchill Downs
- Bode Miller was serving as a commenter during the Winter Olympics and said Anna Veith’s struggles could be due to her decision to get married.
- Miller’s comments came under fire in social media circles.
- Miller later apologized and called the comment “an ill-advised attempt at a joke.”
The bad boy of skiing is in trouble at the Olympics again.
Bode Miller, the 6-time Olympic medalist, is under fire for comments he made as a commenter for NBC Sports during the Ladies’ giant slalom about former Olympic champion Anna Veith of Austria.
Veith, who won gold at Sochi in 2014, has struggled since tearing an ACL in her knee. During that time she also got married and Miller made comments that suggested the decision to get married was just as much to blame for her struggles as the injuries, if not more so.
“The knee is certainly an issue,” Miller said. “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 after being married. Not to blame the spouses, but I just want to toss it out there that it could be her husband’s fault.”
Miller’s comments came under fire in many social media circles. Later, after the broadcast returned from a commercial break, Miller apologized and blamed his comment on being an ill-conceived “joke.”
This is certainly not the first time an athlete’s performance has been linked to the presence or absence of marriage. Jack Nicklaus is considered by many the greatest golfer of all time, and yet, it is a common sentiment in the golf world that his early marriage and devotion to his family held him back from winning even more often.
The problem is, the argument ignores the many ways an athlete can benefit from having a partner who is always there, something Miller addressed in his apology.
“I apologize,” Miller said. “That was an ill-advised attempt at a joke. I was an athlete who competed after marriage, and I know how beneficial it is. I know the support team you need. I relied on my friends and family. If you have the luxury of relying on a spouse, inevitably your biggest supporter, and on Valentine’s Day, I did not mean to throw spouses under the bus. Certainly I’m going to be hearing it from my wife, I know.”