Bode Miller is one of our many U.S. Olympians to leave a big mark on the Sochi Winter games this year. At age 36, Bode Miller came in third place in Sunday’s Super G competition, winning a well-deserved Bronze Medal. Upon winning, Bode has not only inspired many people throughout America with his story, but also other Olympians aspiring to one day rise to his level of greatness. The famous American skier, Linsday Vonn has communicated that through Bode’s win, she is inspired to play in the 2018 Olympics even though by then she will be 33 years old. Although Bode is 36, he has not spoken of throwing in the towel yet. He has a clear love for his sport and won’t quit just yet.
Bode Miller’s win this year was even more heart-wrenching and moving with the hardships he has had to face with the loss of his brother, Chelone, to whom he dedicated his medal. In the interview below, the meaning of this medal is clearly expressed through the emotion conveyed.
Bode’s brother, Chelone “Chilly” Miller, was an amazing, somewhat reckless, high spirited and fearless snowboarder who was supposed to attend the Sochi Winter Olympics this year as well until he very suddenly and tragically lost his life.
Although both Chilly and Bode were heavily involved in their extreme winter sports growing up, they had taken very different paths. While Bode was being professionally trained in competition, Chilly rode the dangerous and unbeaten paths of forest terrain.
He was an extremely talented snowboarder, known for his happy demeanor and ability to dust himself off after any fall with a smile on his face and keep going.
“Chilly was a charger, constantly pushing the envelope. He would guniea pig jumps and stick them before anyone else would even consider them.” – Nate Holland (Two-time Olympian)
Chelone’s dream had been to compete in the Olympics along-side his brother Bode. When he got in contact with the right people, he was more than qualified to enter. When he competed in the Grand Prix, he defeated all four members of the US Elite Snowboard Cross Team, including Seth Wescott, and Olympic Gold Medalist of 2006 and 2010.
Tragedy struck in October 2005 for Chilly, at the ripe age of 21, in a dirt biking accident. He had not been wearing his helmet so the blow of the fall did a lot of damage. Chilly was stuck in a coma for 11 days. Doctors had to perform surgery in temporarily removing a large portion of his skull to save his life. Chelone thankfully recovered, but the injury left its mark. After this huge mishap in his life, Chilly suffered from multiple seizure’s with convulsions so bad that some would throw him off ski-lifts with a 25 foot fall. After Chilly’s recovery, Bode and he grew even closer as brothers as the realization hit that they could lose each other so easily.
Despite the hardships he faced so often, Chilly’s high spirit was not broken. “I’m stoked to be alive, more or less snowboarding better than I ever have. Things are all coming together, which is pretty sweet after the battle I went through. I’m definitely lucky. I appreciate every second of every day because of all those experiences. Life is good.” His dedication and love for life was something that all people could see. Chilly’s story should continue to be an inspiration to people across America.
“It was his pure love of snowboarding that made his approach so special..And he was only doing it for himself.” -Peter Foley (US Olympic Snowboarding Coach)
In April 2013, Chelone had his final seizure, one that took his life at the young age of 29. He had been so close to achieving his dream, I cannot imagine the devastation his family felt and is still feeling with the loss of such a special person. We can certainly see the love from his big brother Bode; in one of his most proud and hard-earned moments, his brother Chilly is still in the forefront of his mind.
In the spirit of honoring our Olympic Medalists, Juno Power is contributing 20% of proceeds from the first 1000 gold and silver batteries purchased to a charity established by Bode Miller himself, called the Turtle Ridge Foundation. This foundation puts a focus on health, diversity and sustainable living in local communities. Follow this link to read more on it.