Miller on doping: FIS needs to start talking


Miller on doping: FIS needs to start talking{mosimage}VAL GARDENA, Italy – Bode Miller said he has not been contacted by any sports authorities regarding his suggestion that regulations on banned substances be liberalized.

“Nobody will talk to anyone about anything,” last season’s overall World Cup ski champion told The Associated Press on Wednesday following a downhill training session. “It’s a joke not being able to talk about an issue that’s getting guys disqualified and ending their careers. They don’t (care). They just make whatever new rules they want and get a paycheck for it,” Miller said.

In October, Miller said he felt doping should be legalized – or at least the accepted levels of banned substances should be increased. In response, the International Olympic Committee athletes’ commission dispatched former Swedish skier Pernilla Wiberg to seek an explanation from Miller.

The IOC said Wednesday that the meeting was still planned.

Miller is aware that he does not have much support on the issue, with most of his fellow athletes raising objection.
“Even (Canadian ski team director) Ken Read made some comments that Bode doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’ve tried to bring it up with him a few times but nobody wants to talk about it,” Miller said.

International Ski Federation general secretary Sarah Lewis said “all doors are open” for Miller and he should come forward to speak to authorities.
“That’s the normal means of communication when you have something to say, by speaking to the parties involved, not the press,” Lewis said.

Miller said the media was being used to confuse the public over doping issues and “make it look like (sports officials) are doing a great job and paint the people who are trying to talk about it for real like troublemakers.”

Miller said he does not dope. “I don’t do anything,” he said.

Miller also directed sharp criticism at the FIS for the way it manages schedules and athletes. “They literally serve up the athletes to anybody to make a buck for themselves and the money doesn’t go to any of the athletes,” he said. “It sounds hypocritical for me because I make the most money on tour. But I’m not talking about myself. The money is so thin for the risks some guys are taking.

“They earn hardly anything. FIS makes millions and millions of dollars and they put nothing into prize money. It’s a bad system.”

The top prizes for this week’s super G and downhill in Val Gardena are $24,040 for winners to $1,202 for 10th place. The money is provided by the local organizing committee.

“The local organizing committees are the rights holders. It’s perfectly logical that they cover the costs of the events and prize money is one of the costs,” Lewis said, adding that the prizes are “significant.”

Miller began ranting after being told he would have to walk all the way around the finish area to get to his motor home.

Kristian Ghedina, a 17-season veteran of the World Cup circuit, sympathized somewhat with Miller.

“A little image improvement wouldn’t hurt,” the Italian said. “It’s not like it used to be, the atmosphere isn’t as much about enjoyment anymore, it’s all result-oriented now. It was more fun when I started.”

Ghedina is content with the prize money, though.

“We should just be glad that we have prize money. When I started there wasn’t anything. Back in the ’60s racers would cross the finish line and nobody would know who they were, they had no sponsors, they were unknowns,” he said.

Ghedina said some racers tried to form an athletes’ committee a few years ago but nothing came of it.

“Maybe Miller needs to get the top guys together and try again,” he said.

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