Miller Rallies for Second Straight World Cup Win


PARK CITY, UT Nov. 22, 2003 (AP) -- Bode Miller charged through the wind and falling snow to come from behind Saturday for his second straight World Cup giant slalom victory.

It was the first victory for an American man in a World Cup ski event in the United States since 1984, when Bill Johnson won a downhill at Aspen.

Miller finished the two runs with a combined time of 2 minutes, 20.84 seconds. Andreas Schifferer of Austria was next at 2:21.70, and teammate Hans Knauss third at 2:21.84.

American Erik Schlopy was leading the first run when he injured his left knee and crashed on a steep section of the 47-gate course. He was taken away on a toboggan and could miss significant time.

"There is a certain rivalry now between the U.S. and Europe," Schifferer said. "Bode is doing so good."

Miller, who won the season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 26 by 1.12 seconds, took Saturday's race in a two-run time of 2:20.84.

The 26-year-old Miller built his credentials as a silver medalist in both the giant slalom and combined at the Salt Lake Olympics. He also won gold in the combined and silver in the Super G at the 2003 World Championships. Still, he wasn't interested in talk of rivalries.

"I'm not one who is struggling for motivation," Miller said. "I want to win races."

Miller, who trailed Knauss by 0.11 seconds after the first run, outwardly didn't seem bothered by the light snowfall or flat light that made the second run particularly challenging for the racers. He easily erased his first-run deficit.

But he said the poor visibility and winds gusting to 33 mph forced him to temper is normal aggressiveness.

"I could have gone a lot faster in the second run, but I wouldn't have made it (to the bottom)," Miller said. "No one could see anything. It didn't matter if you had X-ray vision, you couldn't see anything."

Schlopy, whose fourth-place finish three years ago was the best performance at Park City by an American in men's competition, crashing on a steep section of C.Bs Run during the first run.

The 31-year-old skier, who was leading the field just before his crash, felt his left knee "pop" while negotiating a turn, went airborne, and landed hard on his left side.

"The injury happened before the crash," said Schlopy, the giant slalom bronze medalist at the 2003 World Championships. "The snow was really aggressive and it just grabbed the ski. I could feel it (the knee) go."

Doctors suspected a ligament injury, but an MRI was planned in the coming days.