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Sports

Miller Fails To Win Downhill
Posted by Rudy Martinez on Feb 10, 2014 - 1:49:41 PM

SOCHI—Bode Miller’s dominance through prelims and qualifications suddenly disappeared in the finals. The on again off again American skier finished eighth after a rough showing in the Men’s Alpine Skiing Downhill on Sunday. Austria’s Matthias Mayer secured the gold with Italian Christof Innerhofer winning silver and Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud taking bronze.

The United States put all hopes on their American superstar, and Miller competing in his fifth Olympic winter games was a sure bet to win his second gold and first in the event. The 36-year-old amazed fans through the practice runs as the treacherous 2.44 mile course was an intimidating freefall to some. The massive jumps that kept competitors in the air for a distance of 80 yards had times nearly closing in on the world record.

None were broken, but the fierce athletes began strong with American Travis Ganong setting the bar with a backbreaking time of 2:06.64. His time was not crested by 45 other athletes who went after leaving the big names to overtake the 25-year-old from Squaw Valley, California. Mayer began his way down the hill as the Austrian began to put his country back to dominance.

Austria has medaled in the downhill every Olympics since 1936, but failed to medal in 2010. The Austrian had slow times through the first three sections before suddenly picking up speed to finish one-tenth of a second ahead of Ganong to take first place. The Norwegian duo of Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal were looking to go 1-2 in the first men’s skiing event. Svindel finished with a time of 2:06.52 with his teammate finishing .19 seconds ahead.

It was Miller’s turn to run the course and with a complete focus in his eyes the American took off in a flash. Miller began to slow as he started to run off track, losing top speed and valuable tenths of seconds on the clock. Halfway through, it became clear that Miller lost all composure as the man that found himself at the top of the time charts was falling down the ranks. Miller committed key mistakes and had a look of nervousness; his posture and handling of the skis made him look like an amateur rather than a pro. He finished with a time of 2:06.75 that took him completely out of medaling.

“I don’t really know, the light got a little bit worse and the cloud cover affected the way I was skiing,” said Miller. “On the top I was making so much time on everybody that just really pushed the limits of what the course can do.”

“Unfortunately when the visibility gets worse that could be a disadvantage because I’m skiing in a way that doesn’t really work when you can’t see as well and it just didn’t go our way,” said Miller. He will have time to focus on the men’s super combined when finals take place on Friday.



 

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