U.S. skier Bode Miller cries after taking bronze in the men's Super-G. Credit: Getty Images
Asking questions of an athlete post-event is one thing, but driving them to tears is another entirely.
U.S. skier Bode Miller was in that position Sunday after taking bronze in the men's Super-G at the Sochi Olympics. NBC's sideline (side mountain?) reporter Christin Cooper interviewed Miller and brought up the subject of Miller's brother, Chelone, who died last April after a seizure at just 29 years old.
Chelone, who was nicknamed Chilly, was a professional snowboarder and was likely to make the U.S. team for snowboardcross for the Sochi Olympics.
"Bode, you're showing so much emotion down here, what's going through your mind?" Cooper asked after Miller referenced winning a medal for his brother.
"I mean, a lot obviously, just a long struggle coming in here and just a tough year and..." Miller said, trailing off, obviously fighting back tears.
Cooper then asked two more questions about Chelone, referencing Bode looking to the sky before his run, and Miller outright broke down in tears. He hung his head on the railing in front of Cooper and then walked away and knelt down on the ground covering his face.
It was certainly unusual to see a reporter press an issue so hard when Bode was already clearly fighting back tears. But Miller excused Cooper for the interview on Twitter after she received a lot of criticism.
I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment — Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain. — Bode Miller (@MillerBode) February 17, 2014
He did, however, later retweet a fan who criticized NBC producers for the line of questioning, so it's pretty clear he wasn't happy about it. He just didn't want the ire aimed at Cooper. (For the record, I doubt producers specifically asked her to repeat the question four times.)
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter@MetroNYSports.