As much as Bode Miller, New England's claim to having produced a true ski champion, has accomplished in his relatively young life -- the highlight being last year's World Cup championship -- there was another record in his name. Since March 6, 2002, Miller has started every World Cup race and the streak stands at 136.
That run will end this weekend. Miller will miss his first Cup race in almost four years when he skips the downhill and super-G at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
US ski team officials said yesterday that Miller is taking a break, ending his streak.
His withdrawal from the races means Miller has all but given up on defending his overall World Cup title and is focusing on the Turin Olympics, which begin Feb. 10.
''It's not so important for him, the overall," US team spokesman Marc Habermann said. ''He won it last year. This is something that had been discussed since the start of the season, taking a break before the Olympics."
Miller plans to compete in all five events at the Olympics and is expected to race in Chamonix, France, Feb. 3-4. Miller has always contended that the mark has meant little to him.
Talking to Ski Racing's Nate Vinton, Miller first assessed: ''It's one of those baseball records that doesn't really mean anything." But later Miller said, ''It's not an indicator of how good you are, but in a sense, it does make a statement."
And the statement is not lost on the 28-year-old's competitors, most of them calling the feat amazing -- and a few saying they would not try such a thing. Said 32-year old teammate Daron Rahlves: ''He's in damn good shape to be able to do that." And 21-year-old Ted Ligety: ''I hope maybe some day I'll be doing that. It's definitely a big accomplishment and a testament to his endurance."
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.