Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bode Miller becomes oldest Olympic medalist in alpine skiing history

Andrew Weibrecht of upstate New York might have shocked the world with a silver medal Sunday after a kamikaze run down the Olympic men’s super G race course, but it was his teammate Bode Miller who made history with a bronze medal finish.

“Everything felt pretty raw and connected,” said Miller, who at 36 became the oldest Olympic medalist in Alpine skiing history. The oft-troubled Miller might have collected gold if it weren’t for a mistake on the lower section of the course.

Weibrecht initially thought the melting snow would hinder his late start position, but then he got a radio report from Miller, who was already at the finish line and told him to “f---ing pipe it” according to U.S. Ski Team coach Forest Carey.  Weibrecht's spectacular run knocked Miller into third place.

Kjetil Jansrud of Norway, who completed the course in 1 minute, 18.14 seconds, took home the gold.

Miller, who tied for bronze with Canada’s Jan Hudec, extended his American record to six career Olympic medals in Alpine skiing. Cameras showed Miller wiping tears from his eyes after the race, which he later attributed to thoughts of his younger brother, Chelone, who died last year.

“Skiing 80 percent would probably get me more medals, but it just doesn’t feel right,” said Miller, echoing a sentiment he has expressed more or less consistently throughout his entire 16-year career in elite-level Alpine ski racing.

Organizers moved the start time up an hour to assure that the top racers competed on a harder surface, and on some turns Weibrecht cut inside of the groove that the previous racers had left on the snow, a risky approach that paid off in speed.

Miller was also the silver medalist in super G at the Vancouver Games, where he finished behind Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway. Norwegians have won the gold medal in every Olympic men’s super G since 1998, when Hermann Maier of Austria took the gold.

Still, not a bad day for the USA.

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