Americans keep piling up podiums as Miller, Weibrecht grab silver, bronze in super-G
February 20, 2010 —
WHISTLER CREEKSIDE, BC – Friday saw another banner day for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, as Bode Miller (Franconia, NH) added super G silver to medals in three other disciplines while Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) rocketed to bronze in the performance of a lifetime.
Less than 24 hours after Julia Mancuso's super combined silver tied him for the most Olympic hardware by a U.S. skier, Miller added yet another medal with a breathtaking run. His time withstood all challengers until Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal skied to a dramatic gold on the Dave Murray course.
"It is representative of where my ski career has always been at, where my desire has always been at," said Miller, the 2005 Super G World Champion before a DNF in Torino. "I've always believed in skiing all the events and trying to win all the events. I've been a really strong big event skier since I was little."
Miller roared through the top section of the course, going up more than two tenths on Weibrecht, the early leader from the third spot. Miller lost some time on the Coach's Corner – a steep, sweeping turn toward the end of the course – but held on to nudge his teammate out of first by .02 seconds.
"The first 30 seconds, I was absolutely cutting off the line, the maximum I could do, and made no errors," Miller said. "I got bounced around a little bit. When the snow changed on the bottom, I ran into the same problem I did in the downhill," he said.
"I thought I would have been fifth or sixth, but when you look at the times, I easily could have been. This is as close as any race I've seen between second and fifth or sixth place."
In fact, just .12 seconds separated second and seventh place in icy conditions that tripped up many of the top contenders.
Svindal had the cleanest run of the day, gaining time at the bottom where Bode said he "ran out of gas a little bit."
"Not that it would have made that much difference," Miller said. "It may have cleared a couple of hundredths off guys, but I don't think I would have gotten Aksel."
Weibrecht's early pace came as a surprise to those looking at his past results – where 11th in Kitzbuehel, Austria, the last two seasons stood as his best performance in an elite super G.
"I haven't ever come down leading a race," Weibrecht said. "I figured I would stay in there until 10 guys came down. But I kept staying in there."
The 24-year-old wasn't without mistakes, either, falling off his line and scrambling to make a gate, but he kept his poles out front and never relented.
“Coming into this, I was just hoping to put down runs that I could be proud of and do the best I could every single run," he said. "That’s why I was disappointed with the downhill so much because I felt I could have skied a lot better. Today, I don’t think I left a whole lot in the tank. I gave it everything I had.”
Teammate Ted Ligety (19th; Park City, UT) said he wasn't surprised by Weibrecht's sudden star turn.
"He's been so fast for so long before," Ligety said. "His technique is rock solid. It's actually been more of a surprise that he hasn't been better earlier. I feel like today just shows what he is capable of, and maybe that will spark him to do better on the World Cup day to day."
Phil and Steve Mahre were the last two U.S. men to medal in the same Alpine event when the twins took gold and silver, respectively, in 1984. The U.S. Alpine Team's six medals are the most it has ever won in a single Games.
"That's incredible that we came out firing so hard, especially in a year, particularly on the men's side, where we haven't had a whole lot of podiums or wins," Weibrecht said.
Ligety thinks the course setting favored the United States, especially after a tough practice section the day before.
"You see a course like this, a hill like this, and you know that all of us have a really good chance because we are all good turners and know how to lay it down or race day," he said. "It was pretty cool to see how Weibrecht, especially, and Bode laid it down. I felt like I was just as fast; I just made those mistakes today. It was cool to see those guys both make the podium.”
The U.S. men will challenge again in the super combined Sunday, with the downhill run beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT.
2010 WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES
Whistler Creekside, BC – Feb. 19
Men's Super G
Gold – Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, 1:30.34
Silver – Bode Miller, Franconia, NH, 1:30.62
Bronze – Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, NY, 1:30.65
4. Werner Heel, Italy, 1:30.67
5. Erik Guay, Canada, 1:30.68
19. Ted Ligety, Park City, UT, 1:31.70
22. Marco Sullivan, Squaw Valley, CA, 1:32.09
Comment on "Americans keep piling up podiums as Miller, Weibrecht grab silver, bronze in super-G" using the form below