Archive for Saturday, February 20, 2010

Miller secures silver medal for U.S.

February 20, 2010


— Two races, two medals. Bode Miller is putting together one heck of a Vancouver Olympics.

Miller picked up a silver in the super-G on Friday to go with the bronze he won in the downhill.

Andrew Weibrecht surprisingly finished right behind Miller, plopping another medal onto the United States’ growing pile.

The U.S. Alpine team already has won six medals, its most ever, and we’re not even halfway done in the mountains.

“Our kids love to compete in the big show,” said Bill Marolt, head of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

Overall, the U.S. delegation has won 20 medals, nearly matching its total from Turin (25). With 52 events and nine days left, the Americans are charging toward their record of 34 medals won at the Salt Lake City Games in 2002.

“Part of it might be that we are on North American soil,” said Weibrecht, who’d never finished higher than 10th in a World Cup race. “(We) get better results when we’re at home, or close to home, better food and lodgings.”

With six gold, six silver and eight bronze, the Americans have practically lapped the field. Germany is second in overall medals with 13.

Norway has the second-most golds with five, boosted by victories in the first two events decided Friday. Aksel Lund Svindal won the super-G, and Marit Bjoergen won the women’s 15-kilometer pursuit. Bjoergen also became the first winner of multiple gold medals in Vancouver and the first with three medals.

Amy Williams won the women’s skeleton to give Britain an individual gold medalist at the Winter Games for the first time since figure skater Robin Cousins at Lake Placid in 1980. That is, if it holds up. Canada filed a protest over Williams’ aerodynamic helmet. It’s the second such complaint in two days, with another filed by the Americans rejected Thursday.

The day’s final event was the men’s skeleton, won by Canada’s Jon Montgomery. It’s the fourth gold for the hosts.

In nonmedal action, the winless U.S. men’s and women’s curling teams responded to the arrival of their honorary captain — San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis — by winning for the first time, and a halfpipe medalist headed home sooner than he’d planned.

Scotty Lago volunteered to leave the Olympics after risque pictures of him wearing a Team USA T-shirt and his bronze medal showed up on the Internet. The U.S. Olympics Committee puts athletes through a program to avoid such situations. Lago apologized to the USOC and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.

Saturday could be another big day for the Americans with Apolo Anton Ohno, Shani Davis and Lindsey Vonn all in action.

Vonn stayed off her skis Friday to give her bruised right shin more time to heal, and it “definitely helped,” according to her husband, Thomas.

When Miller took bronze in the downhill, he was smiling at the end of the race. He looked worn out this time.

Miller let out a big breath of air and quickly shook his head. Then he leaned forward, resting his helmet on forearms still locked atop his poles. Once his lungs stopped burning, he took out his mouthpiece and gave a little fist pump.

“I was lucky today,” he said. “I could just as easily have been fifth or sixth.”


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