March 14, 2007
LENZERHEIDE, SWITZERLAND - (USST News Bureau Release) - Bode Miller (Bretton Woods, NH) clinched his second World Cup super G title Thursday as he tied for fourth place in the last SG of the season. Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal won for the second time in 24 hours to close the overall points gap between him and defending champ Benjamin Raich of Austria to three points.
WCSN.com will broadcast same-day super G video streaming from World Cup Finals at noon ET.
On the second day of World Cup Finals, Svindal won in 1:17.94 with Raich second in 1:18.07. Canadian Erik Guay was third (1:18.29) and Miller, who tied with Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein, was timed in 1:18.33. Steven Nyman (Provo, UT) finished 17th and Ted Ligety (Park City, UT) failed to finish.
With two races - a giant slalom Saturday and slalom Sunday - left in the season, Raich has 1,155 points to 1,152 for Svindal. Raich is the better tech skier but Svindal was gold medalist in giant slalom at the recent FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Sweden.
Miller finished the super G season with 304 points and two more World Cup victories. Didier Cuche of Switzerland, the World Cup downhill champion and sixth Thursday in SG, was second at 208 with Canadian John Kucera third (194).
Miller: "not the way you like to win..."
"It wasn't a very good run," Miller said. "It wasn't a nice run and it's not the way you like to win it."
He previously won the super G title in 2005 when he also was the World Cup overall champion. Each discipline champion gets smaller replica crystal globe of the oversized globe which goes to the overall winner.
"It was a tough course again. The snow chisels up and skiing at the back in this flip-30 format (off the super G standings), you're giving away two-, three-, four-tenths of a second to Aksel and Raich and those guys. You can't do that and really expect to win," Miller said.
"You have to take more risks, and I was taking risks. I went down once because I wanted to win and was taking those risks, not just get down the hill," he said.
Nyman shook his head over his final run, but chalked it up to one more lesson he's learned in his second full season on the World Cup. "It was rough," he said. "On the third turn at the top I went too straight. I was 10 or 20 feet off the line of the other guys...and I missed a turn at the bottom. I basically sucked," he laughed.
"It's been a long season, my first competing at such a high level. I love it," Nyman said, "but it's been a learning experience all year again."
Brigham likes the picture
Speed Head Coach Chris Brigham said, "Bode did a helluva job. He said he struggled a bit on the bottom, but it's nice to see him holding that crystal globe. As a coach, you don't often get to see your athletes do that, so this is pretty cool."
With the men and women using the same course, it was an abbreviated 2K course on the Beltrametti speed run. "It's a shorter course than we'll see," Brigham said, "and it was a tighter set (shorter distance between gates) than we'll normally see in a super G. The snow held up well, but it did get choppy, kind of like what you see in a GS, but Bode hung in there well."
Head Coach Phil McNichol grimaced. "Oh man, it's like there's an invisible wall up there keeping us off the podium, out of the top three." U.S. men's coaches have special bowling-style shirts with stylized red and orange flames, which they wear when one of their athletes reaches the podium. He noted, "My flame shirt is about to explode in my baggage. We've got to break it out."
McNichol said Miller, Nyman and Ligety will ski for the men Friday in the team event, which includes four runs by the men and four by the women - two SG runs and two SL runs. Miller will ski the super G and slalom portions of the race with Nyman the second SG racer and Ligety competing in the slalom. "We have some serious making-up to do to make up for Are (where all three U.S. men went out in the slalom). The boys have heard the message and they're ready."
World Cup Finals are restricted to the top 25 skiers in each discipline plus gold medalists from the Junior World Championships. World Cup points go to only the top 15 finishers.