Olympic athlete Bode Miller in high-profile legal battle with former Camp Pendleton Marine

9-month-old boy at center of dispute

SAN DIEGO - A throng of media waited outside a courthouse for a legal battle pitting a decorated Olympic athlete against a former Camp Pendleton Marine and hero firefighter.

First, Sara McKenna walked into a New York courtroom. Soon after, it was Olympic athlete Bode Miller, his wife and the 9-month-old boy at the center of the dispute.

McKenna, who served at Camp Pendleton for four years, met Miller in San Diego through a matchmaking service while he was living on a 100-foot yacht docked at a local marina.

The two broke up after a few months, but McKenna was pregnant.

McKenna claims Miller asked her to get an abortion. She says she refused and claims Miller texted her the following: "I'm not sure. I'm not going to do this with u Sara. U made this choice against my wish and gave me no say. You are going to do this on your own."

Believing she was on her own, McKenna says she made a tough decision. At the time, she was working as a civilian firefighter at Camp Pendleton. In 2011, she earned a Defense Department Hero of the Year award for running into a burning home.

"My only option was to quit working 72 hours a week at a very dangerous job," said McKenna during a CNN interview in June.

She accepted a law scholarship to Columbia University.

By that time, Miller had decided to pursue custody. A New York judge granted Miller custody, saying McKenna only moved to New York because the laws there favored her.

An appellate court recently overturned the decision, leading to a nationwide debate on the rights of pregnant women and their right to move.

McKenna returned to court Monday, asking for full custody of her son.

Nothing was decided on Monday. Another court date has been set for Dec. 9.

Also disputed is the boy's name. Miller calls him Nate. McKenna calls him Sam.

Amid this media circus, there is a chorus of critics who worry this could become a distraction for Miller, who is training for the Olympics in February.

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