Bode Miller had a banner day at the Olympics Sunday, becoming the oldest person to medal in an Alpine skiing event when he took bronze at age 36.
But after the victory, things took an uncomfortable turn when NBC reporter Christin Cooper asked Miller about his younger brother Chelone, a snowboarder who died last April after suffering a seizure. With Miller becoming increasingly visibly emotional, Cooper maintained her line of questioning, asking Miller, "How much does this mean to you to come up with this great performance for him? Was it for him?"
Miller eventually broke down, but NBC's cameras stayed on him for another minute as he wiped his eyes and crouched down by a barrier.
The interview sparked some backlash, with many viewers criticizing Cooper on Twitter. Miller, however, rushed to 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," he tweeted Sunday.
Miller later tweeted: "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."
NBC released a statement Monday addressing the interview. "Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal," a network spokesman said, according to the New York Times. "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."
Miller continued to defend Cooper during an interview with Today on Monday. "I've known Christin a long time and she is a sweetheart of a person," he told Matt Lauer. 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 sort of realized it, I think it was too late and I don't really, I don't blame her at all."