Winter Olympics Sochi 2014

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Bode Miller Shows off Family-Man Status in Austria

He'll compete Sunday in the World Cup giant slalom on Rettenbach glacier.

By ANDREW DAMPF
|  Friday, Oct 25, 2013  |  Updated 7:18 AM CDT
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Bode Miller, of the United States, talks during a press conference in Soelden, Austria, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. The Olympic ski season opens on Sunday and Miller will be back after taking a season off to let his surgically repaired left knee fully heal.

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Bode Miller was back on the World Cup circuit and the cameras were flashing when the American showed up at a sponsor's event to preview the Olympic ski season.

Miller returned after a year off to recover from knee surgery. He'll compete Sunday in the World Cup giant slalom on Rettenbach glacier.

On Thursday, he left the stage and moved to the back of the room to greet his wife, pro volleyball player Morgan Miller, and attend to his baby boy.

"There's a lot to World Cup and having your most important people around you is something that has always been important to me," Miller said. "Before, I had Jake (Serino, a childhood friend) and sometimes family and my Uncle Mike has been a coach.

"But now I have my own family over here, and it's just the logical sort of step. I feel really, really good about it."

Miller also feels good because the U.S. Ski Team has surrounded him with some familiar faces on its coaching staff as the two-time overall World Cup winner and Olympic combined champion heads into the new season with his left knee fully healed.

The staff is led by Miller's good friend Forest Carey and his uncle Mike Kenney, who has rejoined the team after a yearlong sabbatical.

"They're just good people to have around for the team, too. It obviously benefits me, but for everybody there's a benefit," Miller said. "Those guys are really knowledgeable, they love the sport and they've seen success at the highest level."

Carey and Kenney were coaches on Miller's breakaway personal team when he won his second overall title in 2008.

"It's designed to keep Bode inspired and also to keep him accountable," U.S. men's head coach Sasha Rearick said. "Both of those guys do an amazing job."

Miller's former roommate on the circuit, Erik Schlopy, is an assistant coach on the technical team, and Miller noted a transformation in experience among the staff.

"I can't speak highly enough of how far the team has come in the last 17 years since I first made the team," Miller said. "There's been times where I've been pretty down, and it's been a fun process to be a part of."

Miller will compete in his fifth Olympics in Sochi in February.

"I've been to four (Olympics) before and I don't think one more is going to do much to change anything at this point," Miller said. "I came back because I had the chance to. ... I'm doing it because I believe I can do it."

The 36-year-old Miller, whose young son and 5-year-old daughter are from previous relationships, recently celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary with Morgan. His time off also allowed him to drop 20 pounds during rehab.

All the changes helped Miller avoid thinking about retiring.

"I'm in a much more healthy place in general," he said. "Just motivation-wise, the balance in the rest of my life — my fitness, my health, my body. Those are all things that make you want to retire. Right now all of those things are much better than they've been in the last 10 years. That's the biggest factor for me."

As Miller spoke, scores of European journalists stuck microphones in his face, at one point nearly toppling a nearby table. But Miller, who would once run from such a scene, kept his composure.

"You get better at every part of this," he said. "(The media attention) doesn't bother me as much as it used to. I wouldn't say it's your skin getting thicker, just maturity does different things to you."

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