US skiing great Bode Miller apologised on Thursday after suggesting that marriage was to blame for a slow slalom run by Austria’s Anna Veith at the Winter Olympics.
Miller, gold medallist in the 2010 Olympics, was forced to backtrack on his television commentary concerning Veith’s performance on Thursday.
Veith, who won gold at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, has recently recovered from a knee injury and has struggled to recapture her best form in Pyeongchang and during the World Cup.
However Miller suggested her 2016 marriage to long-time partner Manuel might also be a factor in her performances in South Korea.
“The knee is certainly an issue,” said Miller.
“I want to point out, she also got married. It’s historically very challenging to race on World Cup with a family or after being married.
“You know, not to blame the spouses, but I just want to toss that out there that it might be her husband’s fault.”
The comment was widely panned across social media, prompting Miller to issue a hurried clarification.
“I apologize. That was an ill-advised attempt at a joke,” Miller said.
“I was an athlete that competed after marriage and I know how beneficial it is. I know the support team you need. I relied on my friends and family. And if you have the luxury of relying on a spouse I know they are inevitably your biggest supporter.”
He later added on Twitter: “To be clear I was not seriously blaming Anna Veith’s lack of results on her husband.
“It’s a changing of priorities that is historically hard, male or female.”