Feb. 17, 2014 at 8:18 AM ET
When U.S. skier Bode Miller dissolved into tears in a post-race interview after winning a bronze medal in the super-G race in Sochi on Sunday, his interviewer gained nearly as much attention as he did.
NBC's Christin Cooper has been criticized for pushing too hard in asking multiple questions about Miller's late brother, Chelone, leading Miller to start shedding tears. Chelone, 29, who was a professional snowboarder, died last year from a seizure.
"I have known Christin a long time, and she's a sweetheart of a person,'' Miller told Matt Lauer on TODAY Monday. "I know she didn't mean to push. I don't think she really anticipated what my reaction was going to be, and I think by the time she realized it, it was too late. I don't blame her at all."
Miller initially referenced his brother's death, and Cooper asked what was going through his mind. She then asked what it was like to have a performance like that for his brother, and Miller became tearful. Cooper continued, asking, "When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there, and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?” Miller then leaned on a nearby fence and began crying.
"I feel terrible that she's taking the heat for that because it really was just a heat-of-the-moment kind of circumstance,'' Miller said. "I don't think there was any harm intended. It was just a lot of emotion for me. It's been a lot over the past year. You sometimes don't realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks, and then it's just a real outpouring."
Amid the backlash, Miller took to Twitter to express his support for Cooper as well.
On Monday, Miller, 36, also talked about the fact that he became the oldest man in Olympic history to win an Alpine skiing medal when he captured the bronze.
"I've been getting a lot of old jokes lately,'' he said. "I suppose I deserve them, I've been around a long time."
Miller still has the slalom and giant slalom events remaining in Sochi, which could possibly be the final Olympic races of his decorated career. His six Olympic medals are the most by any U.S. skier in history. However, he has not completely ruled out a run at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea, when he would be 40 years old.
"If these are my last Olympic races, I'm proud of what I accomplished, and I feel really good about my efforts in ski racing,'' he said. "I don't really feel like it will be that emotional for me, but you never know, it might not be my last ones, either. We've been making jokes about the next Olympics. I want to win these next races, so I go in there with focus, and I haven't been thinking too much about the future and how I'm going to feel about it."