Miller Scores Bronze, Sponsors To Capitalize?

If I were to tell you that Bode Miller—who won the bronze medal in the downhill on Monday -- still has sponsors, you'd likely ask me HOW?

USA's bronze medallist Bode Miller celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Men's Alpine skiing downhill event.
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USA's bronze medallist Bode Miller celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Men's Alpine skiing downhill event.

You see, Miller might be an accomplished skier in the eyes of Europeans, who watch professional skiing year round, but, to most Americans, Bode Miller is the guy that won nothing.

Four years ago, he was the man that was such a big story that Time and Newsweek put him on their covers in the same week and that was BEFORE a "60 Minutes" piece made us wonder if he could have really skied drunk.

That was also before he finished the Torino games in an 0-for-5 fashion and didn't seem to care.

Bode Miller reportedly lost about $3 million in annual sponsorship deals, but he still turned out to be plenty marketable.

No, he didn't get another pasta deal after Barilla left him soon after the games and the company that made his skis, Atomic, didn't fight hard enough to keep him.

But Nike stood by him, ski maker Head felt he could still sell and there were others waiting in the wings.

Most of them, were not surprisingly, European-based businesses.

Superfund, a managed futures investment group, has its headquarters in Austria and has now sponsored Miller for the last four years.

Hublot, which has a limited edition Bode Miller watch, is based in Switzerland.

He has a signature clothing line with Kjus, a Norwegian ski brand.

Miller's success in professional skiing in Europe has enabled these sponsors to use Miller abroad.

But if Miller is able to pick up a couple more medals in the four events he has left in this Olympics, his sponsors should be able to use him in the US market that would have laughed if he were the face of their brand over the past four years..