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Miller finishes, just not fast

Published Feb. 22, 2006

Austria's Benjamin Raich has nothing to prove now about these Olympics. Bode Miller still does.

Raich, like the American a multimedal favorite, finally ended his 10-day struggle and won the men's giant slalom. Miller tied for sixth.

"I am speechless, overjoyed. This makes me extremely happy," Raich said. "The Olympic victory was my greatest goal."

Raich, who won the last two World Cup giant-slalom races before the Games, was only fifth after the opening leg Monday but vaulted onto the top step of the podium with a brilliant second effort. Joel Chenal of France won the silver, and Hermann Maier of Austria won the bronze to go with his silver in the super-G.

Miller, who was just 12th after the opening leg, tied for sixth with Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal after a good second run that was still slower than each of the three medalists.

Miller has failed to medal in all four races in these Games, but said afterward that he could just as easily have four golds.

"One of the good things about my career is I have such extensive knowledge, so I always go as hard as I can," Miller said. "Some guys can go 70-80 percent and get results, but I wouldn't do that.

"If things went well, I could be sitting on four medals, maybe all of them gold."



Americans sitting third

ON THE TRACK: Shauna Rohbock, who was replaced by Vonetta Flowers just before the Salt Lake City Games, and brakeman Valerie Fleming were in third place after the first two runs of women's bobsled, just behind two German sleds.

The Americans, desperate for a boost in what so far has been a disappointing stay in the Alps, barely trailed Germany-1, piloted by Sandra Kiriasis, and Germany-2, driven by Susi-Lisa Erdmann. The U.S. team was just .01 seconds behind Erdmann and .09 behind Kiriasis.

Before women's bobsled made its debut four years ago, Rohbock was the pusher for Jill Bakken on the U.S. team's No. 2 sled for two seasons. But after a December 2001 push-off, Bakken chose Flowers and the pair went on to win gold in Utah.

Flowers and driver Jean Prahm had a bumpy opening day in USA-2, placing ninth in the 16-team field.

QUICK HITS: Ilse Broeders and Jeannette Pennings of the Netherlands managed to walk away uninjured from a frightening wreck on their first run.

UP NEXT: Today, two-woman runs 3 and 4.



Only 1 U.S. man makes final

ON THE SNOW: Jeret "Speedy" Peterson was the lone American of four to advance to final in men's aerials, a disappointing effort for a U.S. freestyle team considered one of the best in the world.

While Peterson made it, Joe Pack, Ryan St. Onge and Eric Bergoust failed to advance to Thursday's 12-man final. Pack, the defending Olympic silver medalist, is ranked eighth in the world and St. Onge is ranked fourth.

Xiopeng Han of China led the qualifying, followed by Dmitri Dashinki of Belarus and Warren Shouldice of Canada, who has dual citizenship in the United States.

QUICK HITS: Defending Olympic gold medalist Alex Valenta of the Czech Republic and Jeff Bean of Canada, both considered medal contenders, failed to qualify.

UP NEXT: Wednesday: women's aerial qualifying.



U.S. to face Canada in semis

ON THE ICE: Canada rallied late for a 6-3 win over the United States, clinching the fourth and final spot in the medal round. Switzerland (5-4) and Norway (5-4) needed the Canadians (6-3) to lose to remain in contention.

The Americans (6-3) already had wrapped up a spot in the medal round. They face Canada again Wednesday in one semifinal. Finland (7-2) plays Britain (6-3) in the other.

If Canada had fallen into a three-way tie for fourth place, tiebreaker matches would have been held today.

Britain beat the U.S. women 10-4. The Americans (2-7) conceded after six ends, or innings, to finish a disappointing tournament.

QUICK HITS: The U.S. men's team picked up some unexpected fans in the match - the Swiss, who needed an American win to have a chance at advancing.

UP NEXT FOR U.S.: Wednesday, men vs. Canada.



Austrian team takes gold

ON THE SLOPES: Thomas Morgenstern and Andreas Kofler carried over their success from the large hill competition, leading Austria to the gold medal in the team event.

Morgenstern and Kofler, who won individual gold and silver in Saturday's large hill, captured Austria's third ski jumping medal of the Games.

Finland took the silver and Norway earned the bronze.

QUICK HITS: Germany was the defending Olympic champion but went into the team event without a medal after the normal and large hill competitions and finished fourth.

UP NEXT: Ski jumping is completed.



Austria goes 1-3 in super-G

ON THE SLOPES: Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister, the last of the top 30 skiers out of the gate, overcame a course softened by the afternoon sun to edge Croatia's Janica Kostelic by .27 seconds in the women's super-G.

For Dorfmeister, who is retiring after this season, the medal will sit next to the downhill gold she won on the same slope last week.

For Kostelic, the silver made her the most decorated woman in Olympic Alpine skiing history - it was her sixth medal, a record four gold, and her second of these Games. No other woman Alpine skier has more than five.

"Probably when I quit skiing I'll think about it more," Kostelic, 24, said. "I concentrate on my skiing, and don't think about how many medals I've won really and how many medals I'll win."

Austria's Alexandra Meissnitzer won the bronze.

QUICK HITS: The 1-3 Austrian finish came an hour after Austria went 1-3 in the men's giant slalom.

UP NEXT: Wednesday, women's slalom.

WINNING STYLE: Austria's Thomas Morgenstern, winner of Saturday's large hill gold medal, combined with teammate Andreas Kofler, the large hill silver medalist, to win the ski jumping team competition.