An NBC reporter brought American skier Bode Miller to tears Sunday after he won the bronze medal in the Super-G, with what many thought were excessive questions about his brother’s death. But Miller has since jumped to the reporter’s defense.
Miller made history as the oldest alpine skiing medalist when he won his sixth Olympic medal Sunday. NBC had been closely following the Miller family throughout this Olympics.
But fans said NBC may have pushed Miller too far after his bronze finish, focusing on the skier’s loss of his brother, snowboarder Chelone (Chilly) Miller,who was 29 when he died of a seizure last year.
Christin Cooper, a two-time Olympian and silver medalist who works as an alpine skiing analyst for NBC, interviewed him before the medal ceremony.
Cooper began by asking Miller if this medal was different from his last five.
Miller: “This [medal] was a little different. I think, you know, my brother passing away — I really wanted to come back here and race the way he sensed it. So this was a little different.”
Cooper: “Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here, what’s going through your mind?”
Miller: “A lot, obviously. Just a long struggle coming in here. Just a though year.”
Cooper: “I know you wanted to be here with Chilly really experiencing these Games. How much does it mean to come with a great performance for him, or was it for him?”
Miller began to cry.
Miller: “It’s just a tough year. I don’t know if it’s really for him. I just wanted to come here and, I don’t know, I guess make myself proud.
Cooper: “When you’re looking up in the sky at the start… it just looks like you’re talking to somebody, what’s going on there?”
Miller doubled over crying, blocking his face from the camera with his arm. Cooper quickly apologized and comforted Miller.
Miller took a moment to compose himself squatting on the ground, before his wife came and hugged him. The camera continued to follow him for over a minute as he grieved. Critics expressed their outrage on Twitter. Some even pointed to Cooper’s quickly-edited Wikipedia page.
But after the furor on Twitter, Miller defended Cooper Monday morning. He tweeted that the correspondent only asked the questions any journalist would have asked:
My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain.—
Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014