MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — For Bode Miller, family has always come first and always will.
“My family was first when I was 10 … and my family was first when I was 20 and 30,” he told ABC News on Monday. “As I come to the end of my career, more or less, it comes easier and easier.”
Now, with a family of his own, Miller has three children — daughter Neesyn and son Samuel (also called Nate), both from previous relationships, and newborn son Nash, who Miller’s wife Morgan welcomed this past May.
At age 37 with six Olympic medals to his storied career, Miller is fine spending more and more time at home. It’s something he learned from his father.
“My dad and mom weren’t 9-5ers,” he said. “As I grew up, I got to spend much more time with my dad, one-on-one than most kids do. That’s something I’m sort of passing on to my kids. I’ve made it a priority and a huge effort in my life to just spend the daily hours … just being able to be with them and sort of share things with no time restrictions.”
Miller didn’t comment specifically on his 2-year-old son Samuel, who the skier and his ex Sara McKenna co-parent after a lengthy custody battle last year. But, following a tough 2014 that included a lot of headlines in the media about Samuel, along with back surgery and a leg injury in 2015, Miller is focusing on the positives.
“I could see myself basically being essentially a stay at home dad,” adding that he isn’t worried about transitioning away from sports. “It’s an amazing life to undertake … it’s a huge responsibility to be there for your kids and to be able to commit that time … you’re there everyday, you never let them down.”
He added, “I couldn’t be in a better place … As I transition out of sports at a professional level, I just look forward to being able to have more time.”
“This is the most grounded and well-balanced I’ve been,” he continued. “Sports is not a natural homeostasis for people, there’s just a lot of stuff going on … now, my entire priority base and my life style is focused on things much closer to home … I’m not having to bend over backwards except for the people I love the most.”
Miller said his kids couldn’t be happier, as well.
“My daughter [born in 2008] is just a model young child,” he said. “She takes care of her little brother and watches after him. I would say she behaves better when she’s around him than she does when she’s by herself, because she is trying to be a role model for him or she tries to to correct his behavior or tell him how to do things, therefore does it better himself.”
The five-time Olympian spoke to ABC News in celebration of Father’s Day with Jose Cuervo’s Reserva de la Familia. Miller sat down to chat with his father Woody right by his side after giving his father a special Cuervo box with photos from his childhood.
“We both celebrate big events and celebrate our lives, our relationships with our family and with each other and our kids,” Miller said about his father. “[This event] is more just celebrating the relationships of fathers and sons. … It’s not that often you get to show appreciation for your dad, I think moms get it more. I love to show my appreciation.”
“I respect both my parents for making that choice, that they were really not gonna be helicopter parents,” he said of his father. “They let me make my own mistakes at a really young age.”
Speaking of mistakes and public perception, Miller said: “I think there have been a lot of misconceptions,” but that it has never mattered to him except that “[my father] he’s had to watch the judgement, I know that would be hard for me with my kids. Watching the world judge my kids and I would know different.”
Woody said, “I think it’s a little disturbing how people can think they know somebody from the media … I’ve always known who he is and there’s been no doubt in my mind to who Bode Miller is.”
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