On Oct. 12, the most decorated U.S. Olympic ski racer of all time, Bode Miller, will celebrate turning 38 years old. We wanted to celebrate the five-time Olympian's special day by sharing 38 little-known facts about the married father of three. From how he came to name his siblings to why you’ll find some of his world cup trophies in his kitchen — learn more about skiing’s most successful and controversial downhill racer.
1. He is the most decorated U.S. skier in Olympic history, with six medals. Long track speedskater Bonnie Blair also has six. Only short track speedskater Apolo Ohno has more, with eight.
2. In his autobiography, “Bode: Go Fast, Be Good, Have Fun,” he said it was far more important for him to ski as fast as possible, versus winning medals. Luckily for him, he can do both!
3. Born Samuel Bode Miller, he grew up with his family in the mountains of northern New Hampshire without electricity or indoor plumbing.
4. His parents — who split up when he was 6 — attempted to start a commune where he grew up in Franconia.
5. When he was younger, his mom was a midwife and he and his older sister got to witness the birth of his younger sister and brother.
6. He also got to help name his siblings, with the help of his older sister.
7. Has three siblings: a younger brother, Chelone (full name Nathaniel Kinsman Ever Chelone Skan), a younger sister, Wren (Genesis Wren Bungo Windcrushing Turtleheart), and an older sister, Kyla.
8. Was homeschooled by his mom until the third grade.
9. His younger brother, Chelone (aka “Chilly”) — a professional snowboarder who had Olympic dreams — passed away in 2013 at 29 years old. He died of a seizure; one of many he suffered after a motorcycle accident in 2005 left him in a coma for 11 days.
10. Started skiing at age 2. His first formal ski lesson came when he entered public school in third grade and his class went on a field trip to the mountains.
11. His grandparents met on skis. She was a ski instructor (and the fastest member of the women’s U.S. ski team at the time). He was naval officer who was desperate to learn how to ski, because after the war he wanted to open a ski lodge (despite having never been to one).
12. After World War II, the couple bought 500 acres in northern New Hampshire where they owned and operated a ski lodge together.
13. Later, in the 1960s, his grandparents started the Tamarack Tennis Camp in New Hampshire, which still runs today.
14. Miller grew up playing tennis — and soccer — and was a singles champion in high school.
15. Every year he hosts a tennis tournament at Tamarack to raise money for the Turtle Ridge Foundation, his nonprofit that supports adaptive and youth sports programs.
16. Has three kids: a 7-year old daughter, Neesyn Dacey; a 2-year old son, Samuel (aka “Nathaniel” after his brother who passed away) — both from previous relationships; and a new baby, Nash — with his wife of three years, Morgan Beck.
17. His wife delivered Nash by water birth in their home.
18. Miller and Morgan were married on the back of his boat. He handpicked the flowers and arranged his wife-to-be’s bouquet, and she baked the cake.
19. The only people who were in attendance at their wedding were the officiant, who had to take a knee during the ceremony because he had issues with his heart, and the photographer. Their cat was also in attendance. After the ceremony the couple ordered room service from a nearby hotel and were in bed by 9:30 p.m.
20. Two months after the couple married, Miller struck his wife in the left eye with a golf ball — an accident that resulted in 50 stitches and vision damage that may leave her with a permanent impairment.
21. His wife (who is 10 years younger than him) is a beach volleyball player. She played at University of California, Berkeley and turned pro in 2011.
22. Miller had a regulation-size sand volleyball court built in their backyard so he could help coach his wife.
23. Miller sold the houseboat they were married on for a house in Coto de Caza, a 5,000-acre gated community in Southern California where his wife grew up in a well-to-do family. (Her first car was a Mercedes. A vast difference from his upbringing where his parents were said to have made less than $600 one year.)
24. He was once quoted as saying that he is so much happier watching his wife play sports than doing them himself. And the day she wins an Olympic medal, he’ll be right next to her — probably trying to get the medal around his own neck.
25. Just like his parents, who weren’t 9-5ers, Miller said he could see himself being a stay at home dad.
26. While skiing down the headwall of a ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire at 13, he triggered an avalanche, and barely made it out alive.
27. After leaving the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games without a medal, Miller left the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association for two years.28. Has been known to train by himself — even building a makeshift gym in an old barn on his family’s property with the help of his uncle.
29. He has won so many trophies and cups that on occasion he uses them to marinate one of his two favorite foods: chicken wings.
30. His other favorite food is burgers.
31. He has not made an official announcement in regards to retiring, but he did say he has decided to not ski this season — which gets underway later this month.
32. When he’s done with competitive skiing, he wants to train racehorses.
33. He is an avid fan of horses and hasn’t missed a Kentucky Derby since 1999.
34. He once had a dream about a horse he had never met and later went on to buy it. It is one of the eight horses he currently owns.
35. In his family’s Secret Santa exchange last year, his dad got him a wood chime made from horseshoes and a coffee-table book about horses.
36. At the 2005 world championships, he lost one of his skis while going 75 mph and continued down the course on one ski.
37. In his autobiography, he admitted to shielding himself from what people say about him. He said, “newspapers depress me, television is stupefying, and radio is full of bad music and people who talk more than they think.” Because of that, he said his house is low-tech. “It keeps me sane.”
38. He became so known for his big crashes and big wins on the slopes and big controversies off the course that his coaches used to refer to him as “The Bode Show.”