Bode Miller finds little joy in common rewards: medals, money and fame. Instead, the 27-year-old U.S. skier searches for the ideal marriage of skis and snow and the perfect racing run. He measures success not by empirical standards but by his own. With one exception: the World Cup overall championship, awarded to the skier who accumulates the most total points in all five Alpine disciplines over a grueling, six-month season. "It's one of the few objective goals that I felt was worth writing down and talking about," Miller says.
Last Saturday in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, Miller finished second in a World Cup giant slalom, the second-to-last race of the season, to become the first American to clinch the overall title in more than two decades. Miller is now positioned as the biggest U.S. media star in the run-up to next year's Olympics--that is, if he skis in the Olympics. After winning the overall, Miller said, in typically Bode-esque fashion, "I have to think about what value there is in going to the Olympics. If it's to become more famous or more wealthy, I have no interest in that. If it's to prove that I'm the best ski racer in the world, I think I've already done that. And the Olympics are no longer a pure athletic competition. It's something I'm going to have to think about." --T.L.