There was a cheeky grin on gold medal winner Bode Miller's face as he crossed the line to take the lead in the Olympic men's super combined on Sunday and his father recognized it right away.
I told him a long time ago when I saw him on the circuit and he looked like he was losing the joy of skiing, I told him I didn't think he could ski well if he wasn't happy, Woody Miller told Reuters.
From the way he looks, he looks very happy, he said.
Miller is indeed happy and says the reason is that he has found the kid within himself again and is experiencing that simple joy his father referred to.
It feels great to bring that out again of myself, it's not easy at this stage of my career, he told reporters.
It's unbelievably challenging to let all this stuff go and just race like I was a little kid.
You are not thinking about all the things that old people are supposed to think about, you are just going because you love to race fast and love to try hard and it is a really special feeling, he said.
Disillusioned, the American quit the sport last year but returned on the eve of the World Cup season.
The absence of the usual training regime meant he had a mediocre regular season but also allowed him to time his fitness and form for the Winter Games.
Miller's third medal in Whistler, the fifth of his career, was his first gold but he insisted his smiles and celebrations reflected a satisfaction with his run and not just the medal.
The gold medal is great, it's perfect, that's what everyone is shooting for but the way I skied in these last races is what matters.
I would have been proud of that skiing whether I got the medals or not. The three medals are kind of a distraction, because it makes everyone think I am proud of the races because I got the medals.
The enigmatic all-rounder from New Hampshire has been labeled self-centered by critics but he spent time after the award ceremony praising the performances of lesser-known skiers.
Some of these guys are skiing at levels they have never been at before. It might not look that impressive because they might not be great skiers or they don't have great equipment but that is what the Olympics is supposed to be about, he said.
Miller, who supposedly hated the Turin Games, now believes there really is something special about the Olympics which raises performances.
By using the Olympics for what it is supposed to be, as an inspirational tool the level I skied today is right at the very, very top. You can't get that just on call, it's not like you turn a key and magically ski your absolute best.
But when you are at the Olympics, with the energy and everything else, you can use that to bring your game up.
To be able to do that a few races in a row..there is a huge element of luck involved but it feels absolutely amazing, he said.
Miller won nothing in Turin four years ago and cut an unhappy figure as he hopped over fences to escape from the questions of a demanding U.S. media.
It was unthinkable then that 32-year-old would be hinting that this Winter Games, his fourth, may not be the end of his career.
I feel pretty old, I don't know what my plan is really, having already quit once, it seems I came back for a reason and this was why.
But it doesn't mean that I am done. The reason was that I wanted to make sure I had the right motivation. I am going to have to sit down after this season and figure out which direction to go in.
I feel good and when I race like I have been here it really is amazing, just awesome.