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Medal No. 2 for 'Good Bode'

WHISTLER, British Columbia — Maybe it's because his mom is here watching, but Bode the Bad has morphed into Bode the Good at these Winter Olympics.

Bode Miller, the talented, free-spirited American who disappointed and misbehaved at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, has been a reborn skier and a perfect guest in Canada.

Miller won a second medal Friday, improving on the downhill bronze he had captured with silver in the super-giant slalom at Whistler Creekside. Fellow American Andrew Weibrecht took the bronze, giving the United States a seventh multiple-medal event at these Games.

Both were beaten by Norwegian veteran Aksel Lund Svindal, who sped down an icy course, which one Canadian skier called "a hockey rink with a 45-degree slope," in 1 minute, 30.34 seconds, 0.28 seconds quicker than Miller.

And when Svindal crossed the finish line, this new, mellower Miller applauded his rival's accomplishment, and he later gave the victor a bear hug. It was a different look for Miller, who was the ugly American at Turin, partying late, dissing the media, and fizzling and fuming on the slopes. "I'm older now," he said, "a little more mature."

Admittedly nervous before Sunday's downhill, perhaps because he knew the redemption he sought would not come easily, Miller said he was calm and relaxed before the super-G, which combines the speed of a downhill and the turns of a giant slalom.

"The feeling I had was like I felt coming into the Olympics, like I had the right stuff," Miller said. "It was great. Everything felt real good. I skied really aggressive."

Miller's somewhat surprising success has made this, with several events to go, the most successful Olympics for American skiers.

The six medals they've won top the record five they amassed at Sarajevo in 1984. And Miller's four — with 2002 silvers in giant slalom and super-combined, he has medaled in four events — now rank him No. 1 among all U.S. skiers.

"It's like a chain reaction," Weibrecht said. "One guy on the team has a good day, and that makes everyone else feel more confident, more relaxed, more competitive."

The course was made lightning quick by water that officials had injected into it overnight to get a more even, more consistent surface, and veterans like Miller and Svindal seemed to handle it more effectively than their younger counterparts, several of whom crashed.

Patrik Jaerbyn, a 40-year-old Swede, went head over heels after catching a gate with a ski and skidded before a protective gate stopped him. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital. Swedish team doctor Per Liljeholm said he had a mild concussion and some amnesia but no sign of a spinal injury.

Medal No. 2 for 'Good Bode' 02/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 5:17pm]
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