From the Editors: With so many terrible stories involving San Diego’s homeless lately, here is something different. Earlier this year, writers Vera Sanchez and Sunny Rey had covered a story on Craig Miller, a homeless man who lived in the streets of OB, but who died on Christmas Day. They recently found out that his son, Cody Miller, qualified for the Olympics in swimming. Here is that story.
By Vera Sanchez and Sunny Rey
It is a kid’s dream to stand on an Olympic podium and have their nation’s flag wave high as he smiles at his family. Cody Miller of Billings, Montana, qualified on June 27th for the Men’s 100m Breaststroke coming from behind to secure his spot on the Olympic swim team. This year’s games will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil beginning August 5th, 2016.
The road for Cody did not come easy.
Cody was born with Pectus Excavatum, also known as a sunken or funnel chest. In order to improve his medical condition, he began swimming to monitor his heart and breathing.
Swimming, it seems, was survival for Cody both in the physical and emotional sense. He moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, with both of his parents. Shortly after, his parent’s divorced, with Cody staying in Nevada with his mother.
Craig Miller, his father, left the family and moved to California, working odd jobs at fish markets. Eventually, things got tough and Craig became homeless, loosing contact with his son.
San Diego readers may recall an article published in January, 2016 in the OB Rag of a homeless man found dead on Christmas Day in the streets of Ocean Beach. The homeless man was Cody’s father.
Within 24 hours of the article’s release, the writers were inundated with phone calls and emails from family and friends who were passionate to share their accounts of Craig. Hours were entangled in conversations with Craig’s friends wondering what would become of Cody and how the passing of his father would effect his training while focusing on the Olympics.
Family and friends described that Craig was proud of Cody, but one account stuck out. An old and local friend named Julio, contacted the writers requesting to meet in person at a coffee shop in North Park. Julio discussed how Craig spent hours each day at the North Park Library tracking his son’s swimming achievements in national competitions. Craig worked overtime as a manager at several car dealership in order to move his family to Nevada and purchase a home with a pool in order to improve Cody’s health. Once the family was established in their new home, Craig would throw pennies in the pool, Cody diving in to collect the shinning objects.
Every Olympian has a story with a beginning, middle, and end journey. Cody’s adventures began in his backyard pool with his father as his first swim coach. The middle is the daily training and sacrifices that were endured on his quest. The end is the finish line to the Olympics with Cody standing on the podium, America’s flag waved above, and smiling at his family.