Monday, February 22, 2010

'Couver Town Recaps: Miller Time!

(Bodie Miller zooms down the mountain. He looks focused, but he's exhausted. He can barely see straight and he's just yearning for vacation. He told us this was so right after he'd crossed the finish in first place.)

Congrats to Bodie Miller and his remarkable gold-medal performance in the super combined event on Sunday. He now has three Olympic medals in three races in Vancouver — a feat almost anyone would've thought near impossible coming into the Games.

Miller has now cemented his place among the greatest competitive skiers in history. He already had 32 World Cup victories and has held four world titles in four different events, but up until yesterday he had never won Olympic Gold. He won silver and bronze in Salt Lake City, went without reaching the podium in Torino, and no one really knew what to expect of him here. But now it's obvious to everyone that he showed up in Vancouver to compete and to win.

Bodie is known to be a strange, independeny\t character whose not always easy to read, but he was clearly elated after the race. “The way I executed, the way I skied, is something I’ll be proud of for the rest of my life." he said, "It feels amazing.”

Miller did not look great in the super combined downhill, landing himself in 7th place going into the slalom portion. But in the second half of the event, he went nuts flying down the mountain at an unbelievable pace, managing to win the event by a scant 0.33 seconds.

I have to take a quick minute to point out that NBC's coverage of the Super Combined was really weird. I'm not sure what channel was broadcasting it live, if they were showing it live anywhere. When they aired it in prime time, I found the order of events to be choppy and confusing. It was great to see Bodie win, but my context for what was going on flew out the window. Did I really need 19 hours of uninterrupted curling on Sunday, NBC? Couldn't you have jumped away for a little while to cover skiing? I'm just asking.

But that quibble really isn't the thing to focus on. Instead we should acknowledge that with this win, Bodie becomes the first American Alpine skier to win three medals in one Olympics (following his silver in the Super G and a bronze in the downhill). He has two events left at the Games, but he's noticeably tired and banged up. Asking for more from him seems like a lot, but this likely being his last Games, it seems certain he'll empty whatever is left in the tank on his way out. Good luck, Bodie! Great job!

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