bode-miller

Bode Miller won gold, silver and bronze in Vancouver in 2010. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Lindsey Vonn will not be competing in the season-opening World Cup race this weekend in Soelden, Austria, but Bode Miller will return to the gates.

It will be the 36-year-old Miller’s first World Cup start since Feb. 2012, after battling injuries for years. He also has been recuperating from the tragic death of his brother, snowboarder Chelone Miller.

As proof that his Bad Boy Bode days of "skiing wasted" and so on are behind him, Miller has lost 20 pounds and married pro beach volleyball player Morgan Beck. He plans to compete in his fifth Olympic games in Sochi, Russia in February 2014, and any time Bode is in the pack, he has a chance of winning. At the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 he won a gold, a silver and a bronze.

Miller is the most successful Alpine racer in U.S. history, with more than 90 podium finishes in World Cup races. He is also one the few big-name athletes to have the courage to speak out against Vladimir Putin's no-gay-stuff-during-the-Olympics law, calling it "ignorant" and "absolutely embarrassing."

Miller’s top competitor for the podium in Austria this weekend will be fellow American Ted Ligety, who won last year’s race in Soelden by 2.75 seconds and dominated the 2012-13 giant slalom season.

Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso and 18-year-old slalom World Champion Mikeala Shiffrin will compete in the women’s race in Austria on Saturday. But not Lindsey Vonn.

Lindsey Vonn had considered competing in the World Cup opener this weekend, just months after her brutal crash in February, but she decided to keep focusing on training for now, and save her comeback for the World Cup race in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

“While I physically feel great, I have decided to not race this weekend and instead will focus on returning in Beaver Creek,” Vonn told Ski Racing Magazine. “I am confident the extra month of training will ultimately put me in the best position to have a successful season.”

The women’s giant slalom race in Soelden will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26, the men's race on Sunday, Oct. 27.

By the way, if you haven't seen this YouTube video of Bode Miller on one ski, check it out: