USSA columnist Tom Kelly takes a look at Bode Miller's past and future in this week's Behind the Gold.
A month before the start of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, one of the sport’s most celebrated stars held court with media at the Westin in Avon. After two days of training, first on Raptor and then Vail’s Golden Peak, the jury was still out on whether Bode Miller had recovered enough from back surgery just six weeks earlier to be named to the team.
The solid, athletic body that had won 11 Olympic and World Championship medals, seven Audi FIS Ski World Cup crystal globes and 33 individual World Cup races still wasn’t quite ready to race.
“I have a good track record on this hill,” said Miller. “But we have a strong team right now, and I don’t want to bump someone out. I have an unusual knack for coming back and getting ready. If it’s possible, I’m probably one of the people who could pull it off. But it takes luck and good fortune.
During Tuesday’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships nations team event, the Canadians stole the show with a silver medal, defeated by the indelible Austrians. Run on Vail’s Golden Peak, the crowd was big, with cheering spectators lining the sides of course. The American team made it to the first two rounds, but was ousted in the quarterfinals, tying for fifth with Italy, France and Norway.
VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 9, 2015)—Tuesday afternoon is the nations team event—a duel paneled slalom at Vail, CO as a part of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. Athletes and organizers boast that it’s the most fun race of the two weeks, but what exactly is this team event?
HOW IT WORKS
The team event is set up in bracket style, with the top 16 nations ranked similar to NCAA's March Madness, based on Nations Cup points at the end of the last World Cup race prior to the event (men’s slalom at Schladming, Austria on Jan. 27, 2015). Total team sizes are set at a max of six racers, with at least two competitors from each gender starting each heat. Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO), Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), Paula Moltzan (Lakeville, MN), Ted Ligety (Park City, UT), David Chodounsky (Crested Butte, CO) and Will Brandenburg (Spokane, WA) will be competing for the U.S.
VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 9. 2015)—It was another day full of action on Monday at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Vail/Beaver Creek, CO for the women’s alpine combined. Slovenia’s Tina Maze displayed speed in the morning’s downhill and technical prowess in the afternoon’s slalom to win her ninth career World Championship medal. Rounding out the women’s combined podium were Nicole Hosp and Michaela Kirchgasser, both from Austria. Hopes were high for Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), who took seventh in the downhill before straddling in the slalom and DNFing. Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) was the top finishing American in 14th place.
VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 8. 2015)—On the coattails of a record-breaking crowd turnout for men’s downhill on Saturday, throngs of fans showed up again to Beaver Creek, CO to cheer on the men’s World Champs combined athletes. Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) attacked from the back—starting 29th second run—and grabbed an unlikely bronze medal. Austria’s Marcel Hirscher won the combined gold medal, followed by Kjetil Jansrud of Norway.
The men’s combined at the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships is a one-day event that includes the combined time of a morning downhill run with an afternoon slalom run.
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 8, 2015) – Bode Miller left his future options open in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Dan Hicks that aired during coverage of the men’s downhill Saturday from Beaver Creek. Miller’s teammate Travis Ganong won the silver medal with three Americans in the top nine.
Miller spoke candidly about the accident and his future in ski racing, leaning towards retirement but clearly leaving the door open.
“I was gearing for this since the beginning of the season and it took a lot of focus,” he said. “To come here and put a race together that I thought had a good chance of getting me on the podium and then turn south on me at the bottom of the course is tough to swallow. But, physically, I’ll be alright.”
VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 7, 2015)—In front of an enormous crowd of 20,000 screaming fans, the U.S. packed three guys into the top ten on Birds of Prey. Travis Ganong (Squaw Valley, CA) grabbed an incredible silver medal at Saturday’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships downhill. Steven Nyman (Sundance, UT) was fourth and Andrew Weibrecht (Lake Placid, NY) was ninth.
Ganong was surrounded by the Swiss on the podium, as Patrick Kueng took first place and Beat Feuz third.
It was a gloriously sunny day and the place was packed. The stands filled up by 9:00 a.m. MST, with the race not scheduled to start until 11:00. Crowds extended up the side of the race course, reaching above the finish jump. and the cowbells and cheers were deafening as the Americans reached the finish.
“I could actually hear everybody off the jump,” said Jared Goldberg (Holladay, UT).
BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 7, 2015) - What does the future hold in store for Bode Miller? One of the sport's most notable stars over the last decade talked to NBC's Dan Hicks in an interview that will air Saturday on NBC during its coverage of the men's downhill beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.
VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 6. 2015)—The FIS Alpine World Ski Championship women’s downhill was run down the famed Raptor course in Beaver Creek, CO on Friday. With uncharacteristically warm temperatures baking the Beaver Creek snow, conditions were challenging and the female racers put on a show for the fans packed into Red Tail Stadium. Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) was the top finishing American, taking fifth place.
Slovenia’s Tina Maze displayed unparalleled skill during her gold medal-winning run. Earning the silver, only .02 seconds behind Maze, was Austria’s Anna Fenninger. And, Lara Gut of Switzerland rounded out the women’s downhill podium.
The unseasonably warm temperatures created variable snow in the course’s top and bottom flat sections, which played a role in the downhill’s final standings.
VAIL/BEAVER CREEK, CO (Feb. 5. 2015)—There was a lot riding on the results from the women’s downhill training runs on Thursday afternoon in Beaver Creek. With it all said and done, the U.S. Ski Team will send Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO), Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR), and Stacey Cook (Mammoth Mountain, CA) into Friday’s downhill field.
Despite missing a gate, Austria’s Anna Fenninger finished Thursday’s downhill training run in first place. Fenninger continues to ski fast in Beaver Creek, CO on the coattails of her super G victory on Tuesday. Missing a gate is not penalized by a disqualification in training runs; hence Fenninger’s victory. Vonn also missed a gate en route to finishing 19th overall.
Ross finished as the fastest American skier during the downhill training, coming in sixth. Immediately behind her was Mancuso in seventh overall.