Bode Miller joined in on the "Cannonball Challenge" on Instagram this weekend to help raise awareness of and prevent drowning.
Miller has been finding any way he can to change the statistics around drowning ever since he lost his young daughter in a swimming pool accident last year. The Olympic skiier posted a video on Instagram on Friday showing the latest way to get involved: the "Cannonball Challenge." His sons help him explain.
"We're jumping in to end drowning!" he says. "Tag your buddies and show them your best cannonball for the 'Cannonball Challenge.' Go!"
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We are “Jumping into Summer” to end drowning! Tag your buddies and show us your best cannonballs! @djokernole @rogerfederer @m_phelps00 @haasome @sarafoster @shawnjohnson @bbbaumgartner @nicolehughes8 @kerrileewalsh @savannahguthrie @nbc @tombrady @jonnymatlick @_paige.renee @coralmanta @caliisr @stjohnsrsm crew! #cannonballchallenge #drowningprevention #drowningawareness #changethestatistics #coralmanta #isr #emmyandlevi
At his word, his two young sons jump into the pool with Miller, and all three make a sizeable splash together.
In the caption, Miller tagged many other influential users, particularly athletes. Among them were Olypic swimming icon Michael Phelps, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tennis legend Roger Federer, as well as Today Show anchor Savannah Guthrie, and many others. Miller included the hashtags "Cannonball Challenge," "drowning prevention," "drowing awareness" and "change the statistics," among others.
Miller also tagged the post with "Emmy and Levi," presumably referencing his late daughter Emeline. The girl was 19 months old when she drowned in a neighbor's swimming pool in Orange County, California. Ever since, Miller and his wife, professional beach volleyball player Morgan Beck, have looked for ways to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
From from shying away from the water after their tragic loss, the family has embraced the need for swimming lessons, life guards and emergency response knowledge. In another post, Miller showed how his 8-month-old son was being trained to swim, hopefully giving him a fighting chance if he were to fall in the water. After being thrown face-first into the water, he was able to turn himself over and float on his back so that he could breath.
"So proud of my little dude for his hard work," he wrote. "This is the product of 10 minutes a day since April 22nd. Survival swim lessons is a layer of protection that should not be overlooked."
Miller retired from competitive skiing in 2017, with six Olympic medals to his name. He remains one of the top names in the sport to this day. In his retirement, Miller has become a beloved voice in sports commentator, notably at last year's 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
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If I told you an 8 month old could save himself if he fell in the water, would you believe me? So proud of my little dude for his hard work. This is the product of 10 minutes a day since April 22nd. Survival swim lessons is a layer of protection that should not be overlooked #drowningprevention #isr #watersafer #emmyandlevi
This has given Miller, and by extension his cause, even more visibility in the mainstream, but not everyone supports his "survival swimming" initiatives.
"The thing is is not everyone can afford these lessons," one commenter wrote. "I know no amount is more than your child’s life but when you don’t have it you just done."0comments
Still, for every person questioning Miller's methods, there are others in awe of his tenacity.
"You are amazing. You turned a tragic event into such a positive one," another person wrote. "My heart still breaks for you but your little angel is watching this from above and smiling at her parents."
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