SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -- Bode Miller arrived at the 2006 Winter Olympics as the superstar American skier who carried an abundance of talent and an outsized personality to match.
Then came his disappointing performance at the Torino games, where he failed to earn a single medal and was scrutinized for his enthusiastic enjoyment of the Italian Alps nightlife.
Miller, speaking at the World Scholar-Athlete Games at the University of Rhode Island on Thursday night, marveled at how he was perceived as "apparently the most hated Olympic athlete in history."
A media prone to "sensationalism" had given the public misconceptions about him, he said, as he urged an audience of mostly teenagers to measure their success by their own standards.
"I'm sure some of you know me through the media, and that's not, as we all know, the best way to get to know something," he said.
Dressed in a bright orange T-shirt, faded blue jeans and sandals, the New Hampshire native opted not to deliver prepared remarks, instead taking questions from more than a dozen members of the roughly 200-strong audience.
He admitted being disappointed at the outcome of his Olympic performance, but not by his effort.
"I was literally the number one guy in the Olympics that everyone was looking at, that everyone was paying attention to,"
The public had placed a lot pressure on him, he said, and he was unfairly portrayed after failing to meet the expectations of
"It's terrible for your mom to hear that you're a disgrace," he said. "I was apparently the most hated Olympic athlete in history, or something."