U.S. Olympic skier Bode Miller defended NBC reporter Christin Cooper after her line of questioning caused him to cry during a post-race interview.
On Sunday, Miller, 36, earned a bronze medal in Sochi’s super-G event, becoming the oldest-ever person to medal in an Olympic alpine skiing event, USA Today reports. After the race, Cooper caught up with Miller for an interview.
During the interview, Cooper asked Miller how his latest win felt in comparison to his efforts at past Olympic Games. The conversation quickly turned to Miller’s brother, Chilly, who died in 2013 after an apparent seizure.
“This was a little different,” Miller told Cooper, via For The Win. “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 pressed the issue, asking Miller to describe “what was going through [his] mind” after the race. The skier, who began to cry, paused to regain his composure before providing an answer.
“A lot, obviously,” he said. “A long struggle coming in here. And, uh, just a tough year.”
Next, Cooper asked Miller if he had dedicated his performance in the super-G event to his deceased brother. Again, Miller struggled through his emotion to answer the question.
“I mean, I don’t know it’s really for him. But I wanted to come here and uh—I don’t know, I guess make myself proud,” a crying Miller said.
Cooper’s final question rendered Miller unable to finish the interview. “When you’re looking up in the sky at the start [of the race], we see you there and it just looks like you’re talking to somebody. What’s going on there?” she asked.
Upon hearing the question, Miller broke down; he dropped to his knees, overcome with emotion. Cooper placed her hand on his shoulder and apologized, but she still drew criticism on Twitter from fans who felt that her questions had gone too far.
But Cooper has an advocate in Miller, who took to Twitter in her defense after the interview. “Thanks for all the support, today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother,” he wrote.
“I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault [sic]. #heatofthemoment,” he added. “My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interview would have, pushing is part of it, she wasn’t trying to cause pain.”
On Monday morning, NBC released a statement to explain its handling of the emotional interview.
“Our intent was to convey the emotion that Bode Miller was feeling after winning his bronze medal. 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,” the statement read, via For The Win.
Cooper’s interview with Miller can be viewed below, courtesy of TMZ.