Miller makes a statement in final DH training run


Bode Miller powered to the fastest time in the final training run at Rosa Khutor. (GEPA/Christian Walgram)

Bode Miller powered to the fastest time in the final training run at Rosa Khutor. (GEPA/Christian Walgram)

ROSA KHUTOR, Russia – In advance of Sunday’s Olympic downhill, Bode Miller made something of a statement in Saturday’s final training run.

After first deciding to take it easy in the last training run, he decided he “wasn’t going to waste a chance to have fun on this course.” He posted the fastest time of 2:06.69 – 0.66 seconds better than World Cup downhill leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway. Miller had even his competitors acknowledging that he’d skied this rugged course better than anyone else this week.

With Miller finishing 1-6-1 in the three training runs, even Svindal admitted that Miller is the man to beat.

On Saturday, the other top finishers were Italy’s Peter Fill in third (2:07.09), his teammate Werner Heel in fourth (2:07.21) and Carlo Janka of Switzerland in fifth (2:07.45). For the U.S., behind Miller, Erik Fisher was 20th and Jared Goldberg 21st, but neither of them will be skiing in tomorrow’s race. Among the other U.S. starters in Sunday’s downhill, Marco Sullivan swerved off the course and barely avoided a trip into the nets, and Steven Nyman took some significant detours on the way down, having worked on some specific sections up top. Travis Ganong failed to finish.

Asked about his objective in Saturday’s training run, Miller said, “Not kill myself. That was primary. Secondary was fixing that mistake I made yesterday above the Bear jump.” And he felt he’d accomplished that.

“It was fun,” he said. “It’s one of those courses where I don’t think you’re safer by going easy. The key to this course is based on your athleticism and your ability to get on the front of your skis. If you try to go easy I think you’re more likely to end up getting hurt. I skied pretty aggressively. I just wasn’t working quite so much with aerodynamics; I was just standing a little taller and resting. It felt good on my legs, I wasn’t as tired. I took it easy on aerodynamics, but in the turns I was skiing aggressively.

“And I skied the course basically on the line that I was going to go on, the whole way. Tomorrow I’ll be skiing that same line, and I’ll be looking a little bit more for aerodynamics. But, again, this course, it’s so damned fast that you definitely don’t want to sacrifice edge pressure for a slightly better aerodynamic position. … This course has teeth everywhere.”

Canada’s top prospect for Sunday, Erik Guay, had a smooth run Saturday to land in eighth place despite still shaking off a tweaked knee from last month. Manuel Osborne-Paradis was 11th, Benjamin Thomsen 16th, and Jan Hudec and Pridy Morgan took the day off.

The final training day began inauspiciously with a bad fall by Slovenia’s Rok Perko wearing bib number 1, followed by a course hold. Marco Sullivan was next and he fared little better, losing control and veering off course, but eventually avoiding disaster.

“I think I was going probably about 60 right toward the B-net,” Sullivan said, “and you can blow through those pretty quick, so luckily I made that save.”

Sullivan said that the course was holding up well, even after three training runs. “It’s getting a little bit icier and a little bit faster each day. But you see the guys today, Bode skied it great, Aksel, Janka, the guys are skiing it really smooth and strong. Sometimes after so many training runs the course can get really hacked, but this one is staying in good condition and guys are going to be able to go 100 percent and really it’ll be the ability of the athlete that’s going to win it.”

The alpine competition thus far has taken place in front of completely empty stands. In the Rosa Khutor finish stadium on Saturday, there were fewer than 25 fans in a facility designed to hold 7,500. One group of five fans cheering on their hometown hero with a single cowbell was enough to drew the attention of everyone in the finish area.

For the men’s downhill tomorrow, one of the signature events of any Olympics, it should be a different story.

 

RESULTS

Rank Bib FIS Code Name Year Nation Total Time Diff.
 1  13  532431 MILLER Bode 1977 USA  2:06.09
 2  18  421328 SVINDAL Aksel Lund 1982 NOR  2:06.75  +0.66
 3  8  292455 FILL Peter 1982 ITA  2:07.09  +1.00
 4  7  292514 HEEL Werner 1982 ITA  2:07.21  +1.12
 5  26  511313 JANKA Carlo 1986 SUI  2:07.45  +1.36
 6  10  421483 JANSRUD Kjetil 1985 NOR  2:07.55  +1.46
 7  40  422139 KILDE Aleksander Aamodt 1992 NOR  2:07.66  +1.57
 8  17  102263 GUAY Erik 1981 CAN  2:07.84  +1.75
 9  4  191964 POISSON David 1982 FRA  2:07.94  +1.85
 10  23  510727 DEFAGO Didier 1977 SUI  2:08.16  +2.07
 11  24  102899 OSBORNE-PARADIS Manuel 1984 CAN  2:08.20  +2.11
 12  36  511513 CAVIEZEL Mauro 1988 SUI  2:08.28  +2.19
 13  25  54005 STRIEDINGER Otmar 1991 AUT  2:08.56  +2.47
 14  30  192932 FAYED Guillermo 1985 FRA  2:08.65  +2.56
 15  42  561217 KOSI Klemen 1991 SLO  2:08.95  +2.86
 16  38  103271 THOMSEN Benjamin 1987 CAN  2:09.19  +3.10
 17  6  50858 STREITBERGER Georg 1981 AUT  2:09.31  +3.22
 18  19  291459 PARIS Dominik 1989 ITA  2:09.32  +3.23
 19  31  511352 VILETTA Sandro 1986 SUI  2:09.49  +3.40
 20  32  534939 FISHER Erik 1985 USA  2:09.70  +3.61
 21  33  934643 GOLDBERG Jared 1991 USA  2:09.92  +3.83
 22  34  380292 ZRNCIC-DIM Natko 1986 CRO  2:10.33  +4.24
 23  11  191740 CLAREY Johan 1981 FRA  2:10.37  +4.28
 24  16  192746 THEAUX Adrien 1984 FRA  2:10.79  +4.70
 25  51  110324 VON APPEN Henrik 1994 CHI  2:12.16  +6.07
 26  21  51327 PUCHNER Joachim 1987 AUT  2:12.18  +6.09
 27  37  491129 TERRA Ferran 1987 SPA  2:12.21  +6.12
 28  53  92534 CHONGAROV Nikola 1989 BUL  2:12.40  +6.31
 29  45  660021 DANILOCHKIN Yuri 1991 BLR  2:12.75  +6.66
 30  57  90131 GEORGIEV Georgi 1987 BUL  2:13.09  +7.00
 31  48  370031 ALESSANDRIA Arnaud 1993 MON  2:13.23  +7.14
 32  12  53817 FRANZ Max 1989 AUT  2:13.32  +7.23
 33  27  533866 NYMAN Steven 1982 USA  2:13.74  +7.65
 34  56  670052 KHUBER Martin 1992 KAZ  2:13.95  +7.86
 35  41  150398 BANK Ondrej 1980 CZE  2:14.17  +8.08
 36  54  150495 VRABLIK Martin 1982 CZE  2:14.30  +8.21
 37  58  150644 KRYZL Krystof 1986 CZE  2:15.08  +8.99
 37  50  170131 FAARUP Christoffer 1992 DAN  2:15.08  +8.99
 39  46  20324 OLIVERAS Marc 1991 AND  2:15.53  +9.44
 40  55  710320 LAIKERT Igor 1991 BIH  2:16.17  +10.08
 41  59  460071 ACHIRILOAIE Ioan Valeriu 1990 ROU  2:18.89  +12.80
 42  39  491151 DE LA CUESTA Paul 1988 SPA  2:19.65  +13.56
 43  47  550022 RODE Roberts 1987 LAT  2:19.77  +13.68
 44  2  533131 SULLIVAN Marco 1980 USA  2:21.39  +15.30
 45  35  481705 GLEBOV Alexander 1983 RUS  2:25.48  +19.39
Did not start 1st run
 74  700868 FALAT Matej 1993 SVK
 73  370022 JENOT Olivier 1988 MON
 72  30149 SIMARI BIRKNER Cristian Javier 1980 ARG
 71  30246 BIRKNER KETELHOHN Jorge F. 1990 ARG
 70  700830 ZAMPA Adam 1990 SVK
 69  481327 TRIKHICHEV Pavel 1992 RUS
 68  480736 KHOROSHILOV Alexander 1984 RUS
 67  430429 BYDLINSKI Maciej 1988 POL
 66  192504 MERMILLOD BLONDIN Thomas 1984 FRA
 65  530939 WEIBRECHT Andrew 1986 USA
 64  380260 KOSTELIC Ivica 1979 CRO
 63  510890 ZURBRIGGEN Silvan 1981 SUI
 62  103612 PRIDY Morgan 1990 CAN
 61  194364 PINTURAULT Alexis 1991 FRA
 60  534562 LIGETY Ted 1984 USA
 49  670058 KOSHKIN Dmitriy 1986 KAZ
 43  20267 ESTEVE Kevin 1989 AND
 28  102271 HUDEC Jan 1981 CAN
 15  511139 KUENG Patrick 1984 SUI
Did not finish 1st run
 52  700878 BENDIK Martin 1993 SVK
 44  670037 ZAKURDAEV Igor 1987 KAZ
 29  530874 GANONG Travis 1988 USA
 22  51215 BAUMANN Romed 1986 AUT
 20  50753 KROELL Klaus 1980 AUT
 14  293006 INNERHOFER Christof 1984 ITA
 9  53902 MAYER Matthias 1990 AUT
 5  511383 FEUZ Beat 1987 SUI
 3  194190 ROGER Brice 1990 FRA
 1  561067 PERKO Rok 1985 SLO
Do Bode's training run results even matter? Ross, Wiles, Mancuso, Cook make Olympic downhill team

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