TODAY   |  January 09, 2014

Bode Miller, 36, on Sochi: I ‘feel my age’

The most decorated U.S. skier of all time discusses his goals for Sochi, the death of his brother and a headline-making custody dispute in an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> today's countdown to sochi , the games just 28 days away. when they start, the eyes of the world will be on one of america's biggest stars. bode miller is the most decorated u.s. skier of all time.

>> that's a look of pure joy on the face of bode miller .

>> one of only five olympic skiers to take home medals in four different events. and competing in sochi , he'll become the first american skier to compete in five olympic games . he's collected five medals since his first olympics in 1998 , but this time he faces tough odds. at 36, miller is one of the oldest u.s. athletes competing at the games. always colorful miller has had personal highs. a marriage to beach volleyball player morgan beck and los, a public custody battle of his son with an ex and the death of his young are brother. a near injury kept him off the slopes all last year, but miller is back, 20 pounds lighter and on the heels of a second place finish last month and looking to end on top on what will likely be his final olympic games in sochi . b bode, good to see you. good morning.

>> good morning.

>> good to see you. you're 36, you have a knee injury , i don't want to harp on that, how's the recovery been?

>> it's pretty good. the injury i have has been a slow process, beside the fact i've been pretty rough on my body beside my 17 years of world cup career. i'm healthy enough that i'm skis has hard as i can. i'm definitely feeling the age. i have a lot of extra work to do after taking last year away to heal the injury.

>> you're one of these guys that has always skid for the pure love of it. the journey has always been more important than the medals for you. having said that, are you excited about sochi ?

>> everybody knows that the medals is not really why you're going there. i think it is the performances that i'm looking for, maybe a little bit different expectations this year, four years older, fifth olympics . you know, my knee is still -- it is a liability probably. a lot of things i'm dealing with right now are liabilities. so i do go in there with the intent to ski my best and try continue to spire some people and hopefully -- i mean, medals are always the goal when you go to the olympics .

>> it has been an up-and-down year. we followed some of the headlines surrounding you. some of the great things, you got married to morgan beck. how has marriage changed you?

>> yeah, it keeps me busy for sure. it been great. i mean, you know, morgan is a great woman and she's been able to travel around with me a lot and, you know, being able to share the experiences of moving around the world and seeing all these great spots and training has been an absolute pleasure.

>> and there have been some difficult moments as well. you lost your young are brother, chili back in april. he was a talented athlete as well. tell me about him.

>> you know, it was a shock. he had his head injury in 2006 . i took time after the '06 olympics that year, that was something that was overlooked about the '06 olympics , starting in the fall in september, he was in a coma for a while. that really affected my process of preparing for the olympics that year, as well as all the other things that we all know about and that was really difficult through the olympics there. i took a little time off to spend with him after the olympics . it really changed our relationship and i think gave me a new appreciation for who he was. i mean, it was just a shock. once he recovered from that injury, we sort of thought things were looking obviously good. he was snowboarding again, he had 100% recovery and for something like that to happen, it just really knocked us all on our asses pretty hard.

>> my condolences for that. you had a public battle for custody of your young son. i know you're a private person. what was it like to read about it in the headlines?

>> i have some experience with the media. the real difficult part is any time it's family, is one thing. reading about them when they're not true and they're completely one direction and having to accept that and not fight the public battle because that's what the media thrives on is you said this and this is true. that was really difficult. the view in the media was obviously the judge who is had all the information came up with different decisions athan the media did and the reason is because the media only had a tiny portion of the story twisted on one side. that was tough. but when it is family or when it about a small child who can't really defend themselves or is going to have to deal with the repercussions of that in the future, that's a really tough thing to deal with.

>> we're talking about your potential fifth olympic games in sochi but you've started to look beyond skiing after skiing is over and one of your plans, i like this a lot, this has to do with veterans.

>> yeah, i'm going to be busy, i'm always pretty busy. but i'm one of the partners in a company called the grilled cheese truck company, and it's a pretty unique mobile food truck situation that we get veterans who are returning from their service either in iraq or wherever they served and we give them an opportunity to franchise into this grilled cheese truck company. you know, it's a tough thing to see when guys come back from serving their country like that and don't have any career opportunities . they can barely find jobs to make minimum wage. i think that was something that me and the other partners in the company felt like we had an opportunity to change. we're offering these turn key opportunities to come in and use their skill set they've developed in the service and make high six figures a year, which i think is a really cool american kind of thing to do.

>> we look forward to that and we look forward to seeing you in sochi . i appreciate your time this morning. thanks so much.

>> thanks, matt.