AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN
For Bode Miller, winning a medal at Sochi was more than just an athletic accolade.
The 36-year-old Olympian, who took home the bronze medal in the Alpine skiing Super G Sunday, overcame a lot of adversity on his road to the Winter Olympics.
Last year his brother, Chelone, passed away in April; he faced a bitter custody battle over his infant son, and he worked tirelessly to recover from a left knee surgery to be able to hit the slopes again, according to CBS.
Chelone was also hoping to make the U.S. team in Sochi, before he died of a reported seizure; Miller had hoped to honor him here.
"He had been a competitive snowboarder, trying to make Olympics," Miller, who wiped away tears after the competition, told E! News. "He was coming into his own…it was a tough hit. For myself too. When you connect that emotion and doing it on honor of them, you deal with consequences. It was such a raw emotion, I collapsed."
"It's almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths," Bode later told reporters. "Some days…medals don't matter, and today was one of the ones where it does."
Miller, who called the race, "probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I've ever had," became the oldest Alpine medalist in Olympic history with the win.
He also is now the proud owner of six Olympic medals—the second-highest total for a male ski racer.
Following the race, Miller tweeted his thanks to fans, writing, "Thanks for all the support, today was one of the most emotional days of my life. I miss my brother."
Don't forget to keep tuning in to E! for all of our coverage on Sochi!