Bode Miller Apologizes for Bizarre Olympics Joke About Female Skier’s Marriage
Another Olympics gaffe has landed, and appropriately enough, Wednesday’s foot-in-mouth moment was all about love. Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir might say it lifts us up where we belong, but NBC Olympics analyst Bode Miller offered a different take by proposing that marriage might have hurt a female skier’s performance.
As he commented on skier Anna Veith’s performance in the giant slalom, the former Olympian noted that the athlete was struggling with a knee injury, which caused issues for her. Then he took his commentary in another direction: “I want to point out, she also got married. It’s historically very challenging to race on World Cup with a family or after being married. You know, not to blame the spouses, but I just want to toss that out there that it might be her husband’s fault.”
As it turns out, Valentine’s Day is a particularly bad time to make jokes about marriage hurting a female skier’s performance. Really, doing that is probably never a good idea. Regardless, Miller was quick to apologize for the foot-in-mouth moment after viewers called him out on social media. Not long after making his odd comment, he said, on air, “That was an ill-advised attempt at a joke. I was an athlete that competed after marriage and I know how beneficial it is. I know the support team you need. I relied on my friends and family. And if you have the luxury of relying on a spouse I know they are inevitably your biggest supporter. And on Valentine’s Day I didn’t mean to throw spouses under the bus. Certainly, I’m going to be hearing it from my wife, I know.”
Miller also addressed the moment on Twitter, writing, “To be clear I was not seriously blaming Anna Veith’s lack of results on her husband. It’s a changing of priorities that is historically hard, male or female.”
“I had the love and support of my wife while I was racing and I know it can be a huge asset. #happyvalentinesday,” Miller added.
Miller is far from the first commentator to find himself in the center of controversy during the Winter Games. This year’s Olympics coverage has been replete with gaffes and on-air mix-ups. It is also striking, however, how quickly the apologies for all of these flubs have been rolling in. Clearly, networks have learned by now that with missteps like these, it’s best to just atone quickly and move on.
Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:The Best Sights at the 2018 Olympics Opening CeremonyLaura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com. She was formerly an editorial assistant at Slate and lives in Brooklyn.