How Bode can save his image 

February, 11, 2006
Bode bashing is so January. So let's prop up our fallen hero with some good tidings as the Games begin. How Bode can save his rep? Bode Miller is not evil. He didn't appear on GQ's Most Hated Athletes list, nor should he. He's got a great supporting cast of friends and family, he is involved with charities, and his ego comes more from his independence than it does from his riches or fame. Bode talks like a revolutionary, which is refreshing, but he acts like a greedy jock, which is not. So with just a few modifications in the name of consistency, he can be an American role model again (assuming he actually cares about that). Here's how:

• 1. Get naked. Not actually naked, but without the corporate logos. How cool would it be if he dropped all his sponsorships, either right before or right after the race? At least, he could ditch the Barilla and Nike caps for a Cannon Mountain hat. He's already given his sponsors plenty of exposure, anyway. Look, we can't stand all the signage these skiers wear, but we understand it because most skiers are not wealthy. Bode has the bucks to break free. He says he hates the materialism of the Games, so now's his chance to rebuff the condo-maniacs in Aspen and represent the near-socialists back in Franconia. No, it's not quite Tommie Smith raising a fist in 1968, but it's good enough for our strip-mall-infested era. Bode's favorite word is "pure," and here's his chance to redefine it.

Eric Adelson | email

ESPN The Magazine
Eric Adelson was a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.