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Sochi 2014 Olympics: Bode Miller Becomes Oldest Alpine Skier to Win Medal

Thirty-six-year-old Bode Miller of the United States placed third in the men's Super-G race on Feb. 16 to become the oldest Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal.

Feb 16 2014, 9:26pm CST | by

Sochi 2014 Olympics: Bode Miller Becomes Oldest Alpine Skier to Win Medal
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bode Miller of the United States became the oldest alpine skier to win an Olympic medal when he placed third in the Super-G race on Feb. 16. 

According to Peggy Shinn of the United States' offiical Olympics website, the historice accolade -- a tie for the bronze with Canada's Jan Hudec -- was Miller's sixth Olympic medal. 

"Miller felt he was lucky to hang on to a medal today -- his sixth Olympic medal -- after making a mistake on the bottom of the course. At age 36, he is now the oldest man to win an Olympic medal in alpine skiing. When asked how that make him feel, he joked,'Old.'

"Famously not a medal counter, Miller admitted that claiming bronze today was a big deal. After the year that he's endured -- a comeback from injury, as well as personal turmoil and the death of his brother last spring -- Miller needed proof that the effort paid off.

"'I was really happy to be on the right side of the hundredths,' he said. 'Some days, medals don't matter. Today, it does matter.'"

Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud won the gold medal a week after he won bronze in the men's downhill event, per Pat Graham and Graham Dunbar of The Associated Press. His prime minister, Erna Solberg, told Graham and Dunbar Jansrund is "an absolute idol" for the youth of Norway after he secured the Super-G race victory on Sunday. 

Jansrud also told The Associated Press Miller was one of his idols.

"He was already winning races when I was a little kid. He has been one of my heroes. He has had such an amazing career."

Graham and Dunbar note that Miller started No. 13 and even took the lead, but his final jump off the final slope cost him. Nonetheless, he was emotional on the podium when he hugged his wife, professional volleyball player Morgan Miller.

"To be on the podium, it's a really big day for me. Emotionally, I had a lot riding on it. I'm super, super happy." 

Miller's emotions ran high also because of his late brother Chelone, who died at the age of 29 in April 2013 due "to an apparent seizure thought to be related to the traumatic brain injury he sustained in a motorcycle accident in 2005," writes David Leon Moore of USA Today Sports. 

Moore also points out Miller, who, prior to the victory had "five Olympic medals, five world championship medals, 33 World Cup victories and two overall World Cup titles," broke a streak of two years in which he hadn't won a race. 

He then hailed his teammate and eventual silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht as an "unbelievable talent," per Shinn.

"He doesn't connect skiing with emotion. He just skies with huge intensity normally. Here (at the Winter Games), he really connects the emotion to it. That's why he gets such crazy performances out of himself." 

It was a stirring comeback for Weibrecht, who has had to battle an assortment of injuries since copping the bronze medal in the same event in Vancouver four years ago. He has had to battle ankle and shoulder injuries.

The skier who is nicknamed "War Horse" knew he had done well as soon as he finished the race.

"It's unbelievable. I came down and knew I skied well. I knew I had a good run. I came through the finish and appreciated my run. Then I took a couple of seconds and looked at the time, I saw two and looked away. I looked again and was like,'You've got to be kidding me.'"

As for Miller, he made it clear it was hard work which made all the difference for him in the end.

"I put in a lot of hard work. This was really a hard year. It was a lot of effort coming back to get fit and get ready and just battle through what life throws at you sometimes. To come out and ski hard, it is almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations where I really have to test myself."


Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.


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