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Olympics / Sports

Bode Miller takes bronze in super-G in memory of his brother

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- And, when it was all over and official, the old man did something unexpected. He cried.

Bode Miller has been accused of being many things in the past -- egotistical, undisciplined, brash -- but Sunday there was no questioning how absolutely human he appeared.

Miller tied for third in the men's super-G, earning bronze to become, at age 36, the oldest medalist in the history of Olympic Alpine skiing.

"If it's not the most important race of my life, it's right there with it," he said. "I had a lot to show today. I always feel like I'm capable of winning medals. But as you've seen in these Olympics, it's not that easy."

Shortly after his race, Miller, via Twitter, thanked the fans for their support, concluding his post with this: "I miss my brother."

In April, Chelone Miller died near Mammoth Lake of what was believed to be a seizure related to injuries sustained in a 2005 motorcycle accident. Chelone, who was 29, was remembered as one of the more charismatic snowboarders around.

The brothers were tight, maybe never more so than Sunday.

"We were very close," said Miller, a resident of Coto de Caza, Calif. "There are parts of his life, or his attitude, that I just naturally integrate maybe more into my life, which affects the way I do everything -- ski, training and everything else."

Miller was joined on the podium by U.S. teammate Andrew Weibrecht, who earned the silver medal as the Americans rebounded from what had been a struggle for them in the mountains here.

The U.S. ski team had won just one medal -- Julia Mancuso's bronze in super combined -- in the first five races of these Games.

"I'm happy to have not made catastrophic mistakes," Miller said. "The mistakes I've been making are costly, but they're mistakes borne of intensity and focus and pride pushing too hard. If there's a fault I can accept, it's that I push too hard."

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud won gold and Canada's Jan Hudec tied Miller for third.

As the results were posted as official, cameras caught tears running down Miller's cheeks. He now has won six Olympic medals, a record for U.S. skiers. His first two medals came in Salt Lake City 12 years ago.

"To be on the podium, this is a really big day for me," Miller said. "Emotionally, I had a lot riding on it. Even though I didn't ski my best -- a lot of mistakes -- I'm just super, super happy."

The tie for bronze was the second tie for an Alpine medal in these Games and the sixth in Olympic Alpine history. On Wednesday, Tina Maze of Slovenia and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland tied for gold in the women's downhill.

Even more history for Miller, he joined skiing legends Hermann Maier and Kjetil Andre Aamodt as multiple medal winners in super-G.

"It means I'm old," Miller joked about adding his name to an impressive and short list. "To be in the group with those guys is not something I think about on a regular basis. But, on the times I do, it's pretty overwhelming."

Miller and Hudec were tied for silver until Weibrecht roared past them and secured a very satisfying silver.

Nicknamed "War Horse" because of his relentless style, Weibrecht has battled injuries, including blowing out both ankles and surgeries on both shoulders.

Before the start of this season, he told USA Today he was contemplating retirement. Weibrecht also lost sponsorship from the U.S ski team at one point because of poor results.

Four years ago in Vancouver, Miller was second in super-G and Weibrecht was third, a reversal of their performances here.

"With the intensity he has and the athletic ability he has on his skis, I can't say I'm surprised," Miller said. "I was on the podium with him last time, and I was lucky to have snuck ahead of him last time. He got me this time."

Weibrecht caught Miller, yes, just in time to author one of the better stories so far in these Games for the United States.

(c)2014 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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