MILLER

SundayXtra - - SPORTS SPECIAL -

Cspeed. The U. S. skier sim­ply doesn’t do slow. On the course, that go- for- broke ap­proach has served him quite well — 33 World Cup wins, two over­all ti­tles and five Olympic medals.

Off it, too: He met pro vol­ley­ball player Mor­gan Beck in May and five months later they were mar­ried in a pri­vate cer­e­mony on his boat. He also fan­cied own­ing a race­horse and re­cently part­nered with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baf­fert’s wife to pur­chase a two- year- old colt.

But now comes the dif­fi­cult part: Slow­ing down for a bit.

Miller is com­ing off a ma­jor knee in­jury and it’s tak­ing time to get back to full speed. Maybe years ago, when Miller was much more im­pa­tient and rac­ing meant just about ev­ery­thing to him, he might have gam­bled and re­turned be­fore he was ready.

Not at 35, though, and in the twi­light of his ca­reer. He in­sisted he’s in no rush to click back into his skis and com­pete. If he has to miss a few races to al­low the left knee to heal af­ter mi­crofrac­ture surgery just nine months ago, so be it.

“There’s no gain to come back and race a few races and get away with it a few times and then screw up my knee and have to re­tire,” Miller said.

He’s def­i­nitely out for the World Cup stop in Lake Louise, Alta., next week­end. And he prob­a­bly won’t be ready to race in Beaver Creek, Colo., ei­ther, even though he is the de­fend­ing down­hill cham­pion on the de­mand­ing Birds of Prey course.

Ask him when he hopes to re­turn and he’ll just smirk.

“Hope doesn’t play much part in it. You can hope for a ( win­ning) Megabucks ticket, or hope for any­thing else,” said Miller, who was sched­uled to at­tend the U. S. Ski Team’s in­tro­duc­tion cer­e­mony Thurs­day night in Vail. “The fact is it’s an in­jury that takes a long time to heal. If you come back too soon, you re­ally do risk undoing the surgery and putting your­self back to square one.”

Miller’s in a good place — a real good place — even if he can’t com­pete. As he walked from room to room at a ho­tel to con­duct in­ter­views for the ski team on Wed­nes­day, he held the hand of his wife.

Just a few months ago, Miller didn’t know Mor- gan Beck. But she def­i­nitely knew of him. Her first en­counter with Miller was when she was a teenager and at­tend­ing the 2002 Salt Lake City Games with her par­ents. She was do­ing her English home­work one night when loud mu­sic be­gan blar­ing from the condo next door.

“My par­ents went out­side and it was Bode Miller. They were like, ‘ That Bode Miller!’ re­counted Mor­gan Miller, who changed her last name af­ter they were wed on Oct. 7. “Lit­tle did we know that 10 years later I was go­ing to marry the guy.”

This is how they met: Miller was vis­it­ing his agent, Low­ell Taub, when he hap­pened to see a pic­ture of Mor­gan hang­ing on the wall. He asked all about her. He later gave her a call when she was at a beach vol­ley­ball tour­na­ment in Fort Laud­erdale, Fla. Miller hap­pened to be in town as well, to pick up a new house­boat. He asked if he could come out and watch.

Her ini­tial re­sponse was no. She didn’t want to be ner­vous with him in the stands.

She re­lented and he showed up. They’ve been in­sep­a­ra­ble ever since.

They were mar­ried on his house­boat in San Diego, with just the wed­ding of­fi­ciant, a pho­tog­ra­pher and their cat in at­ten­dance.

“Bode had the men­tal­ity that if you know it’s right, then there’s no point in wait­ing,” said Mor­gan Miller, who was an out­side hit­ter at Cal­i­for­nia. “It’s great.”

Now, they’re search­ing for a new house — on land, not wa­ter — up north, just to bet­ter ac­com­mo­date her vol­ley­ball ca­reer. But they don’t want to move too far away, es­pe­cially since Miller’s four- year- old daugh­ter, Dacey, lives in the San Diego area.

As for the World Cup sea­son, Mor­gan Miller will travel along with him. She even took up ski­ing again.

In the spring, when the ski sea­son ends and vol­ley­ball be­gins, they will flip- flop roles and Miller will fol­low her to tour­na­ments.

“We made the pact to do ev­ery­thing to­gether un­til we get sick of each other,” she said with a laugh.

Bode Miller also has got­ten in­volved in horse rac­ing. Last week­end, Carv­ing — the horse he co- owns with Bob Baf­fert’s wife, Jill — beat Fury Kap­cori by a half- length to win the $ 100,000 Real Quiet Stakes at Bet­fair Hol­ly­wood Park.

It was al­most as good a feel­ing as when Miller cap­tures a down­hill race.

“Def­i­nitely ex­cit­ing,” said Miller, who won Olympic gold in the su­per- com­bined at the 2010 Van­cou­ver Games. “It has ups and downs, but it’s been pretty much ups for me, which is con­ve­nient. But I know there are downs, too. Right now, we’re kind of fig­ur­ing it out and learn­ing the process.”

The Baf­ferts are friends with Miller and even named their seven- year- old son, Bode, af­ter him.

“The rea­son I wanted to do this was be­cause he knows what he’s do­ing,” Miller said. “He brings ex­per­tise.” More in­volve “Def­i­nitely,” For the mome hill.

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