Notebook: Bode Miller says he needs eye surgery

The way Bode Miller skis, vision is everything.

So it was somewhat surprising when the most decorated Alpine skier in US history revealed Tuesday he needs Lasik eye surgery and regrets not having had it before the Olympics.

After dominating the training sessions, Miller finished a disappointing eighth in Sunday’s downhill race.


‘‘I was supposed to get an eye surgery earlier this year,’’ said Miller, who has won five Olympic medals. ‘‘We just never found the time to do it because the race schedule was so tight. We were pretty [upset] looking back on that, that we hadn’t figured out a time to do that, because for me my vision is critical.’’

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The downhill training sessions were held in clear sunshine, but clouds moved in for race day.

‘‘When the light is perfect, I can ski with any of the best guys in the world. When it goes out, my particular style suffers more than the guys who are more stable and sort of don’t do as much in the middle of the turns,’’ the 36-year-old Miller said after leading the opening training session for Friday’s super-combined race, in which he is the defending gold medalist.

Ligety late by design

Ted Ligety took his time showing up at the Sochi Olympics, finally taking his first training run Tuesday — two days after the first men’s Alpine race and nearly a week after many competitors began preparing on the hill.

That was by design.


Four years ago, the American got to Whistler, British Columbia, ahead of the Vancouver Games as early as anyone, with a lot of attention and expectations thrown his way thanks to a gold medal from the 2006 Turin Games. Having thrived in his Olympic debut, he did not repeat that success in 2010, failing to finish one event and coming in fifth, ninth, and 19th in his others.

‘‘He was in Whistler for a long time before his real events, and he just got stale there, from being there that long,’’ US men’s head coach Sasha Rearick said after Ligety was 15th in Tuesday’s practice session, covering the Rosa Khutor downhill course in 2 minutes, 0.92 seconds, 4½ seconds slower than teammate Miller.

Costas sidelined

With both eyes reddened by an infection, NBC’s Bob Costas sat out the network’s prime-time Olympics coverage Tuesday. Taking his place in Sochi was ‘‘Today’’ anchor Matt Lauer.

Costas has been wearing glasses since the start of the Olympics because of an infection in his left eye. On Monday’s broadcast, it was apparent the infection had spread to his other eye. It quickly became the topic of conversation on social media and sports talk radio.

No one else has anchored a prime-time summer or winter Olympic broadcast in the US since 1998, when CBS had the rights to broadcast the games.


Costas called in to the ‘‘Today’’ show Tuesday to talk to Lauer and said, if anything, his eyes had gotten worse.

Will NHL stay?

Rene Fasel is on a mission to keep hockey in the Olympics as compelling and competitive as possible, and it’s going to be a tougher task for the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation in the next four years.

The NHL and the players’ union have not committed to the next Olympics, in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

‘‘I'm going to work hard and do the best I can to get the NHL and NHL players in Pyeongchang,’’ Fasel said Tuesday in a telephone interview. ‘‘I will do everything I can — seven days a week — until a decision is made.

‘‘But ultimately, that decision will be made by them.’’

By ‘‘them,’’ of course, he means NHL owners and its players.

Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider doesn’t like freezing the league for two weeks or so in the middle of the season — when the NFL is idle and the NCAA Tournament is a month away — and risking injury to his players without a tangible return.

‘‘It’s ridiculous,’’ Snider said last week. ‘‘There’s no benefit to us whatsoever.’’

Great company

Maria Hoefl-Riesch can match Alpine skiing’s Olympic greats with a victory Wednesday in the women’s downhill. The 29-year-old German, her confidence soaring after winning the opening super-combined event on Monday, is aiming for a record-equaling fourth career Olympic gold medal. Only Janica Kostelic of Croatia and Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway, both retired, have won four Olympic titles in Alpine racing . . . Medal contender Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein says she’s out of the Olympic women’s downhill because of an injury sustained after a training crash. Weirather writes that she is ‘‘heart broken that I can’t compete tomorrow’’ in a post on her social network accounts . . . Russian figure skating phenomenon Julia Lipnitskaia has returned to Moscow to train for what she hopes will be another gold medal. The 15-year-old already has one in team skating and says it’s ‘‘very heavy but beautiful.’’ Next on her agenda is the women’s competition, which begins Feb. 19 back in Sochi.