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Bode Miller defends NBC reporter for interview that caused emotional breakdown (video)

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An interview that occurred after Bode Miller won a bronze medal in the Super G on Sunday is generating more attention than the veteran skier’s impressive performance through which he secured is sixth Winter Olympics medal.

Shortly after the final skiers finished and the results were final, Miller was approached by NBC reporter Christin Cooper for an interview. The direction of the interview not surprisingly turned to the tumultuous year Miller has experienced, in particular the untimely and tragic death of his younger brother Chelone.

Overcome with emotion, the interview — which some have argued that Cooper took to far, suggesting that Cooper pressed Miller so much it caused the skier to break down — ended abruptly when Miller, overcome with emotion, could not continue.

For the Win has a transcription of the now-controversial interview (video here):

Miller: This was a little different. With my brother passing away, I really wanted to come back here and race the way he sends it. So this was a little different.

Cooper: Bode, you’re showing so much emotion down here. What’s going through your mind?

Miller: (Long pause) A lot, obviously. A long struggle coming in here. And, uh, just a tough year.

Cooper: I know you wanted to be here with Chilly experiencing these games, how much does it mean to you to come up with a great performance for him? And was it for him?

Miller: I mean, I don’t know it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and uh — I don’t know, I guess make my self proud. (Pauses, then wipes away tears.)

Cooper: When you’re looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?

Miller did not answer the final question, kneeling down before rising, walking a few steps and kneeling down again, overcome by everything that has happened to him in the previous year.

Cooper has been hammered both online and by mainstream media for the manner in which she conducted in the interview, but Miller took to Twitter and staunchly defended her.

Miller appeared on Monday’s broadcast of “TODAY” (video here) and continued his defense of the reporter, referring to Cooper as “a sweetheart of a person.”

I have known Christin a long time, and she’s a sweetheart of a person,” Miller told Matt Lauer on TODAY Monday. “I know she didn’t mean to push. I don’t think she really anticipated what my reaction was going to be, and I think by the time she realized it, it was too late. I don’t blame her at all.”

Miller continued.

“I feel terrible that she’s taking the heat for that because it really was just a heat-of-the-moment kind of circumstance,” Miller said. “I don’t think there was any harm intended. It was just a lot of emotion for me. It’s been a lot over the past year. You sometimes don’t realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks, and then it’s just a real outpouring.”

NBC released a statement Monday morning defending Cooper and the interview.

“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal. We understand how some viewers thought the line of questioning went too far, but it was our judgment that his answers were a necessary part of the story. We’re gratified that Bode has been publicly supportive of Christin Cooper and the overall interview.”

Cooper rightly deserves some criticism for the interview — Cooper’s initial line of questioning was arguably acceptable but should have pulled back a bit once Miller began to break into tears — but the fact that Miller immediately came to Cooper’s defense — a true demonstration of class — and continued to do so in his interview with Matt Lauer on Monday probably is the most important commentary regarding the issue. If Miller was okay with it, perhaps everyone else should be as well.