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February 15, 2010 at 4:49 PM

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More from men's downhill

Posted by Ron Judd

IT'S BEEN A WHILE: Bode Miller's downhill bronze was only the third ever in the event for America. The previous medals were both gold: Bill Johnson's 1984 victory in Sarajevo, and Tommy Moe's win at Lillehammer in 1994.

SAME FOR SWISS: Switzerland is known for producing great alpine skiers, but this was the first downhill win for the Swiss since Pirmin Zurbriggen captured the title at the 1988 Calgary Games.

WHICH MEANS: The Swiss have never lost the men's downhill at an Olympics in Canada.

WHICH ALSO MEANS: If Winnipeg or Yellowknife wants the Games, the Swiss vote is a cinch.

BODE MILLER, TEAM PLAYER: We're writing about the New Bode Miller in tomorrow's column. But here's some supporting material we couldn't squeeze in. Andre Weibrecht of Lake Placid, 21st place finisher here and perhaps the future for U.S. men's downhill, had this to say about Bode:

"He's super-involved with the team. He's willing to help out guys and willing to be there and share his experience with everybody. And then on top of that he's been super on top of his program and wants it. He's doing everything he can to be as fast as he can."

COMMENTS FROM SASHA REARICK, Men's alpine head coach (interviewed by Meri-Jo Borzilleri:

On Bode Miller's medal: "We're excited. I was proud of all the guys. All the guys came in today and executed the plan and also skied very aggressively."

On Weibrecht's run: "Weibrecht ran early, didn't get any feedback on where the real bumps were. It was much bumpier early. He came out and executed aggressive skiing. He made a pretty good bobble or something on the bottom, pinched a turn off, lust a bunch of time on the bottom."

On Steve Nyman's 20th-place run: "Nyman, who hasn't been skiing great in training, came out and skis the tech sections fantastic. I was stoked with how he skied. We didn't think he was going to be at the Olympics, and now he's there. He executed his plan."

On Marco Sullivan, who went down and DNF'ed: "He was hauling at the top. He skied an aggressive line. He had probably the toughest (conditions). The light was good, but the course was breaking up. He hit a bump and got twisted sideways."

On Bode MIller reintegrating with the team: "With Bode we talked about giving effort every day. Maximum effort. When Bode comes out, he trains hard. He pushes hard. He pushes his staff to make sure the training's good, pushes the servicemen to make sure the skis...he wants guys around him that are pushing.

"Bode came into camp (in Park City, befor the games) excited. He came to the Olympics having fun, inspired about trying to go as hard as he can. He was enjoying it, enjoying skiing and enjoying the process of trying to get better. He was out there testing skis two days ago, even this morning we did a little test. He's having fun doing it."

On Miller's fitness: "He's worked hard, done some hard workouts even here at the try to get that last little bit. Is he 100 percent? He's going to have to answer that. He knows his own body."

On Miller's impact: "I think we need to look at Bode as a guy who's innovated the sport, he's inspired millions of people, and that's what he does."

On collecting an early medal: It's a good start. It's a good start. Tomorrow's the super-combined, we've got a strong fun team in there that can ski really fast. We've got Ted Ligety skiing really good in GS and he's skiing really good in super-G, downhill is definitely not his best event but he's skiing really well. Will Brandenburg (of Spokane), a young guy who's been super-fast in training, he doesn't have a lot of experience on the World Cup. He's doing well. We've just got to keep focused on what we do to ski faster, keeping things simple and having fun."


On his thoughts heading into the run: "It was a great day, a great race, overall. It really felt like the Olympics to me, right from the morning, through inspection, everyone, you could feel the nervous energy. I don't know if it was more, maybe it was because we had a couple days off and we knew the course changed a lot, and everyone was a little bit shocked at how it looked this morning.

They injected the first few turns, they injected down the steep pitch and into the toilet bowl, there was a lot of changes and maybe that helped build a little of the anxiety and the excitement and then everyone starts to get it.

I think everyone feeds off each other, when we were in the lodge before the first turn. It was clear that this was not a World Cup, everyone was feeling something different. It was cool for me, it was sort of what I had been looking for. That was the feeling I've been searching for and I let it build up. I was real nervous before I went, but excited nervous not anxiety nervous. I felt great."

On his run: "I made mistakes for sure. But more as a result of that, it was pretty flat light when I went still. It was shade the whole middle part of the course was in the shadows, or in the shade, just from the clouds. That's just a critical part of the course. I was pushing really hard the whole way but I had a couple bobbles. Just not being able to see, you hit bumps, you can't see it, it kind of bounces you around a little bit. And then not long after that the sun started to creep through and then the sun was out full on and when Aksel [Lund Svindal] went, he pulled eight tenths back on me on that middle split. I think that's great skiing, you can't take anything away from him. But that's the way skiing is, sometimes you get a little bit of bad luck and that makes the difference. It's certainly not a numbers, there's not a whole lot of difference between us."

On winning the bronze medal: "It is what it is. I could have been fourth today easily. There's guys who have been better than me in some training runs here and who made mistakes or didn't have great luck today. So I was psyched the way I skied. Whether I'd had a medal or not, I'm not sure would have made a huge difference. To win a medal for the U.S. in the first event we had a chance to, it's great. And for my team, it's been a transition for me back onto the team and stuff and I feel like everyone has worked really hard with them. I think that part is important. I think it was more a medal for everybody else than me particularly, but I'll take it."

On how he feels heading into his next race: "I feel strong. As I've said it before, coming into here, I'm fit, I'm still getting stronger, I feel motivated. And like I said, you can always count on me making mistakes and pushing hard. But I've raced a lot of races since the last time I was in these big races and was really excited and fired up. I think if I let myself get emotionally wound up like that, there's nobody who wants it more, there's nobody who pushes harder. It's just a matter of managing those mistakes that are inevitably going to happen."

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Blog roll and links The official International Olympic Committtee site, with news releases, a searchable Olympic medals database and other archival information. Olympic news site from one of the Games' primary sponsors.
NBC Olympics columnist Alan Abrahamson's column/blog
Chicago Tribune Olympic sports writer Philip Hersh's blog U.S. Olympic Committee's athlete web site. Ed and Sheila Hula's Olympic News Service (subscription). News service with audio, video and text coverage of Olympic sports, during and between Olympics. Free, but charges for live video feed subscriptions. Beijing Organizing Committee Web site. Vancouver Organizing Committee's 2010 Winter Games site. London 2012 Summer Games site. Sochi, Russia's 2014 Winter Games site. Candidate city Chicago's summer 2016 bid committee site.
Olympic swimmer Tara Kirk's highly entertaining WCSN blog
Bellevue Olympian Scott Macartney's WCSN alpine ski-racing blog
Other WCSN Olympic athlete blogs.