Bode Miller, U.S. Ski Team soak up NBC exposureWhat do Bode Miller, Martha Stewart and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have in common?
They all plugged their books on NBC’s Today Show Wednesday.
The plug was part of Miller’s interview with Matt Lauer during the Today Show‘s ongoing Olympic preview segment. To mark 100 days until the Torino Opening Ceremony, NBC dedicated an entire 20 minutes of prime a.m. airtime to the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team.
Also appearing with Lauer in a group segment were Lindsey Kildow, Resi Stiegler, Seth Wescott, Lindsey Jacobellis and Joe Pack.
Miller’s one-on-one with Lauer was the highlight of the package, taking up close to half the airtime. The interview focused on Miller’s reluctance to accept fame, his humble upbringings and Olympic hopes. Lauer did not press Miller on his recent doping ramblings made to Ski Racing and other media outlets.
Miller, appearing in a Barilla ball cap, said he had been reluctant to race in the Olympics and accept the sponsorship opportunities such fame brings, but that his sponsors had allowed him to ‘represent himself.’
‘I don’t have the ability to single-handedly change what the world feels or what the Olympics represent’ Miller told Lauer.
When the topic of his humble upbringings in New Hampshire came up, Miller said the years he lived with his family without running water and electricity were happy years and that he could live that way again.
‘If I wanted to, I could go up to the woods, do my own thing, have a garden’ Miller said.
When the interview shifted to the pressure on Miller in an Olympic year, the overall World Cup champion said he is willing to accept that Americans ‘jump on board for the Olympics’ but that his main goals were on the World Cup tour.
In a philosophical moment, Miller said it might be easier to meet standards being placed upon him in the Olympic year if he was not on the podium at Torino.
‘It represents the struggle’ Miller said, as he explained how the Salt Lake Olympic slalom and combined events represented his past struggles.
In the team segment, Lauer asked Stiegler about her skiing heritage. Her father, Josef ‘Pepi’ Stiegler, won a GS silver medal for Austria at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics, and at the 1964 Innsbruck Games, took the bronze in GS and gold in slalom.
‘I hope to do the same for the U.S.’ Resi said. ‘It’s great to have him there to support me.’
When Lauer returned to Miller, lined up next to Stiegler in the group, he asked if he had been able to train on snow yet this year.
Miller replied that he had just completed the first race of the season in Austria. He did not mention the second-place podium at Soelden.
During the duration of the group interview, aerialists Joe Pack and Jeret ‘Speedy’ Peterson did invert routines on skis on dual tramps set up directly behind the group. After a good five to seven minutes of spinning and flipping high above Rockefeller Center, Lauer snagged 2002 Olympic aerials silver medalist Pack for an interview.
Pack admitted he was a bit dizzy, adding that the United States has a fantastic freestyle team that was looking forward to a successful Olympics. Peterson, defending World Cup aerials champion and current leader, did not speak on camera.
But the fans outside the NBC studios got a special treat – Ski Racing magazine copies, handed out by Stiegler, Kildow and other U.S. Ski Team representatives.