Dns fog
53°
Dns fog
Hi 77° | Lo 54°
Sochi Olympics

2 medals, strong emotions for Miller, Weibrecht

  • Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States makes a jump in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States makes a jump in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • United States' Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan wipe away tears after after finishing third in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    United States' Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan wipe away tears after after finishing third in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • United States' Bode Miller walks to the podium after winning the joint bronze medal in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

    United States' Bode Miller walks to the podium after winning the joint bronze medal in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States passes a gate in the men's super-G the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States passes a gate in the men's super-G the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • United States' Andrew Weibrecht reacts at the end of his run in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    United States' Andrew Weibrecht reacts at the end of his run in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • United States' Andrew Weibrecht passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

    United States' Andrew Weibrecht passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

  • Men's super-G medalists from left, United States' Andrew Weibrecht (silver), Norway's Kjetil Jansrud (gold), Canada's Jan Hudec (bronze) and United States' Bode Miller (bronze) leave the podium after a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    Men's super-G medalists from left, United States' Andrew Weibrecht (silver), Norway's Kjetil Jansrud (gold), Canada's Jan Hudec (bronze) and United States' Bode Miller (bronze) leave the podium after a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

  • Norway's Kjetil Jansrud celebrates on the podium after winning the gold medal in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Norway's Kjetil Jansrud celebrates on the podium after winning the gold medal in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Men's super-G joint bronze medal winners Canada's Jan Hudec and United States' Bode Miller shake hands on the podium during a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Men's super-G joint bronze medal winners Canada's Jan Hudec and United States' Bode Miller shake hands on the podium during a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

  • Canada's Jan Hudec celebrates after his run in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

    Canada's Jan Hudec celebrates after his run in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

  • Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

  • Men's super-G medalists, from left, the United States' Andrew Weibrecht, silver, Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, gold, and Canada's Jan Hudec and the United States' Bode Miller, who tied for the bronze, pose with their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

    Men's super-G medalists, from left, the United States' Andrew Weibrecht, silver, Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, gold, and Canada's Jan Hudec and the United States' Bode Miller, who tied for the bronze, pose with their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • United States' Bode Miller passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

    United States' Bode Miller passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

  • Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States makes a jump in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • United States' Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan wipe away tears after after finishing third in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • United States' Bode Miller walks to the podium after winning the joint bronze medal in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
  • Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States passes a gate in the men's super-G the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • United States' Andrew Weibrecht reacts at the end of his run in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • United States' Andrew Weibrecht passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)
  • Men's super-G medalists from left, United States' Andrew Weibrecht (silver), Norway's Kjetil Jansrud (gold), Canada's Jan Hudec (bronze) and United States' Bode Miller (bronze) leave the podium after a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
  • Norway's Kjetil Jansrud celebrates on the podium after winning the gold medal in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Men's super-G joint bronze medal winners Canada's Jan Hudec and United States' Bode Miller shake hands on the podium during a flower ceremony at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
  • Canada's Jan Hudec celebrates after his run in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Gero Breloer)
  • Joint bronze medal winner Bode Miller of the United States passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
  • Men's super-G medalists, from left, the United States' Andrew Weibrecht, silver, Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, gold, and Canada's Jan Hudec and the United States' Bode Miller, who tied for the bronze, pose with their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
  • United States' Bode Miller passes a gate in the men's super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia – This medal mattered to Bode Miller.

Not so much because, at 36, his bronze in yesterday’s super G — behind winner Kjetil Jansrud and surprise runner-up Andrew Weibrecht – makes Miller the oldest Alpine medalist in Olympic history. Or even because he now owns six medals in all, the second-highest total for a male ski racer and tied for second among U.S. Winter Olympians in any sport.

The guy who for years and years insisted results don’t mean much to him declared he actually did care about this one. The last year has been a difficult one for Miller: the death of his younger brother, Chelone, in April 2013; the court fight over custody of his infant son; the work it took to come back from left knee surgery and return to the Alpine apex.

“It’s almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths,” said Miller, who grew up in Franconia and is now based in California. “Some days … medals don’t matter, and today was one of the ones where it does.”

He wiped away tears in the finish area after someone mentioned Chelone, a charismatic snowboarder who was 29 and hoping to make the U.S. team in Sochi when he died of what was believed to be a seizure.

“Everything felt pretty raw and pretty connected,” Miller said, “so it was a lot for me.”

Weibrecht couldn’t help but be moved by his own journey, calling yesterday “probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I’ve ever had.”

It also was an important day for the U.S. ski team. The Americans had managed to collect only one of the 15 medals awarded through the first five Alpine events of the Sochi Olympics before Weibrecht and Miller tripled their nation’s total in one fell swoop.

Through 28 starters, Miller and Jan Hudec of Canada were tied for second place, about a half-second slower than Jansrud’s run of 1:18.14. But then came the 29th racer, Weibrecht, who had come out of nowhere to win the super G bronze behind Miller’s silver at the 2010 Olympics but since then has dealt with injury after injury, including to both shoulders and both ankles.

He’s had four operations in the last four years, lost funding from the U.S. ski team at one point, and was not a lock to make the Sochi Olympic roster.

“I’ve had to evaluate whether this is really what I want to do. Even,” Weibrecht said, then paused before adding, “as recently as yesterday.”

He laughed at his own punch line.

“All kidding aside,” Weibrecht said later, rubbing his left temple, “it’s been a pretty difficult four years. It’s kind of one of those things that you can only be beat down so many times before you start to really look at what you’re doing. I didn’t know how many more beatdowns I could take.”

Charging with abandon – his nickname is “War Horse” – Weibrecht dominated the top of the course, then held on to nudge into second, 0.30 seconds behind Jansrud and 0.23 ahead of both Miller and Hudec, whose bronze is Canada’s first Alpine medal in 20 years.

That Weibrecht pulled it off did not shock U.S. coaches or teammate Ted Ligety, the super G world champion who was 14th. Weibrecht credited a recent day of giant slalom practice in Austria alongside Ligety with helping him carry speed.

Being quick has never been a problem for the 5-foot-6 Weibrecht, who’s 28. Mid-race errors usually set him back.

Just last week, Ligety called Weibrecht “the fastest skier in the world for 20 seconds in every single event.”

How stunning was this silver? In 95 World Cup races, Weibrecht never finished better than 10th. Yet he owns two Olympic medals.

“Hits the bull’s-eye once every four years,” is how Italy’s Peter Fill put it.

Weibrecht’s 2010 bronze hangs in the lobby of his parents’ hotel in Lake Placid, host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games. In the wee hours of yesterday – there’s a 9-hour time difference between New York and Sochi – Weibrecht’s parents followed along at home.

“He had some really bad experiences,” Weibrecht’s father, Ed, said in a telephone interview. “It’s been a struggle for him to come back, but he never wavered from that goal.”

Understanding where Miller’s goals lie can be tricky.

He’ll talk about the purity of skiing. He’ll say tangible rewards aren’t significant, that “skiing 80 percent would get me more medals, but it just doesn’t feel right.”

Here, though, he was bothered by finishing eighth in the downhill, sixth in the super-combined. In the super G, one error coming out of the final jump cost Miller what he estimated to be about a half-second. Still, he appreciated the accomplishment.

“After the year we’ve had, and the fact we just keep pushing through it,” said Miller’s wife, Morgan, “it just shows how resilient Bode is.”

Even if clearly in a reflective mood, Miller couldn’t completely turn off his wry side when asked about trailing only the Alpine-record eight medals won by Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, and the U.S.-record eight Winter Olympic medals won by speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno.

“It means,” Miller said with a smile, that I’m old.”

Related

Bode Miller’s six Olympics medals

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gold Super combined, 2010 Vancouver Silver Giant slalom, 2002 Salt Lake City Combined, 2002 Salt Lake City Super G, 2010 Vancouver Bronze Downhill, 2010 Vancouver Super G, 2014 Sochi …

Olympics roundup: Another Dutch sweep in speedskating

Monday, February 17, 2014

SOCHI, Russia – Russia is having a tough time winning on the Olympic ice, and the Netherlands can’t seem to lose. The Russians were forced into a second straight shootout yesterday and now must play an extra game to reach the men’s hockey quarterfinals. The Dutch speedskaters have fared much better, earning a third sweep of the podium at the … 0

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.