There are usually only two things you can say with certainty about the enigmatic Bode Miller: First, he's a great skier. Second, he's a disingenuous hypocrite. On Thursday you can (temporarily) add a third thing to that list: He'll once again be a member of the U.S. ski team.
Two years after breaking off from the squad in a dispute over money, parties, vans and access, Miller will be rejoining the team in time for the 2010 season. This includes, of course, the upcoming Olympic Games in Vancouver.
It's a curious decision for both sides. The coaches and members of the U.S. ski team can't be pleased to see Miller and his circus return. He's considered the antithesis of a team player and a guy who quits any time the odds get long. What is the benefit of adding a potential chemistry killer to a team that has thrived without him?
As for Miller, he doesn't need to be a member of the ski team to make the Olympic squad, so why would he go back?
The answer, as it usually does, probably has to do with money. More about this story will emerge in the coming days, but it's safe to say that there are some zeroes involved in this deal (and we're not talking about Miller's medal count from the '06 Games).
Speaking of the Olympics, it was just six months ago that Miller was unsure about whether he'd even be competing in them. He told HBO's Real Sports:
Right now, I feel like [skiing in Vancouver] would be a terrible decision. ... The least that I'll deal with is the whole thing from '06 again. You're set up for misery. It's just that there's no point.
A gold medal is going to mean nothing to me. Less than nothing, actually. It devalues so much that I've already done and adds nothing."
What Miller actually meant is that he didn't think he wanted to deal with the pressure of another Olympics and greatly feared that another medal shutout would besmirch his legacy as the greatest American skier of all-time (which he is). Something has evidently changed his mind.