Olympics / Sports

Andorra's Marc Oliveras finishes the men's alpine skiing downhill at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Bode Miller can't master downhill, but he has other events

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- On Saturday, Bode Miller said the men's downhill course here "has teeth everywhere" and, if you lose concentration, it "can kill you."

On Sunday, the course merely broke Miller's heart.

One of the most decorated Winter Olympians in U.S. history, the Coto de Caza, Calif., resident finished a distant eighth, failing to medal in an event he entered as a favorite.

"It's tough," said Miller, 36, who was one of the fastest competitors during training runs leading up to the race. "I was looking to win. I thought I had a good chance at it. I was well prepared."

A native of New Hampshire, Miller finished slightly more than a half-second behind winner Matthias Mayer of Austria. Italy's Christof Innerhofer finished second and Norway's Kjetil Jansrud was third.

Miller's U.S. teammate, Travis Ganong came in sixth.

"The visibility changed a ton from the training run," Miller said. "The middle and bottom of the course slowed so much from the beginning of the race until I went that I thought you have to do something magical to win."

Instead, Miller sailed through the finish line and almost immediately his shoulders slumped and his head dropped. In just over two minutes, his first attempt at a sixth Olympic medal was over. This is Miller's fifth Winter Games.

He has won a gold medal, three silvers and a bronze in his career. In Vancouver four years ago, Miller won three of those medals, including gold in the super combined.

The good news for Miller is his experience in Sochi is just beginning. He still has the Super-G and the super combined events to come.

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