SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- NBC has been known to wring every last ounce of nostalgia and emotion out of its coverage of the Olympics, and many are saying a reporter went too far in her interview with skier Bode Miller.
Miller, who took bronze in the men's super-G event Sunday, was approached by reporter Christin Cooper after the race, and much of the reaction to the emotional interview has accused Cooper of pushing Miller too hard to get a good TV moment.
The skier was the first to mention his brother, Chelone, who died last year from a seizure. But the exchange that followed rubbed many viewers the wrong way.
Cooper: For a guy who said the medals don't really matter, they aren't "the thing," you've amassed quite a collection. What does this one mean to you in terms of all the others?
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: A lot, obviously. Just a long struggle coming in here. Just a tough year.
Cooper: I know you wanted to be here with Chelly 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 if it's really for him. But I wanted to come here and...I don't know, I guess make myself proud.
Cooper: When you're looking up in the sky at the start, we see you there and it looks like you're talking to somebody. What's going on there?
At that point, Miller became so emotional he ended the interview, and the overwhelming response was that NBC and Cooper had gone too far.
NBC has NO shame. How many times do they need to make Bode Miller cry for his dead brother to promote their ratings.— Gypsy Queen Cafe (@thegypsytruck) February 17, 2014
Wow, the thing that interviewer just did to Bode Miller was SUPER disgusting. #Olympics2014— Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) February 17, 2014
That reporter just did everything short of kick Bode Miller in the junk to try and get him to cry on TV. #Olympics2014— Matthew Schott (@matthew_schott) February 17, 2014
Some announcers just don't know when to stop asking questions-why can't they leave Bodie Miller alone and let him deal with his emotions.— MIKE ERUZIONE (@MERUZIONE) February 17, 2014
That horrible woman interviewing Bode Miller wasn't gonna quit until she got him to weep. Award winning journalism right there.— kellierasberry (@kellierasberry) February 17, 2014
But there's one person who disagrees with that reaction: Miller himself.
"I have known Christin a long time, and she's a sweetheart of a person,'' Miller told Matt Lauer Monday morning. "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."
He also tweeted in her defense.
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
NBC issued a statement Monday, defending Cooper and thanking Miller for his response.
“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal," NBC said. "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.”