SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 16: (FRANCE OUT) Bode Miller of the USA wins joint bronze medal during the Alpine Skiing Men's Super-G at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on February 16, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 461593483
Updated: March 18, 2014 6:29AM
This medal mattered to Bode Miller. Not so much because, at 36, his bronze in Sunday’s super-G — behind winner Kjetil Jansrud and surprise runner-up Andrew Weibrecht — makes Miller the oldest Alpine medalist in Olympic history. Or even because he owns six medals in all, the second-highest total for a male ski racer and tied for second among U.S. Winter Olympians in any sport.
The guy who for years insisted results don’t mean much to him declared he actually cared about this one. The last year has been difficult for Miller: the death of his younger brother, Chelone, in April 2013; the court fight over custody of his infant son; the work it took to come back from left knee surgery and return to the Alpine apex.
“It’s almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths,” Miller said. “Some days ... medals don’t matter, and today was one of the ones where it does.”
Weibrecht — nicknamed “War Horse” — couldn’t help but be moved by his own journey, calling Sunday “probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I’ve ever had.”
It also was an important day for the U.S. ski team. The Americans had managed to collect only one of the 15 medals awarded through the first five Alpine events of the Sochi Olympics before Weibrecht and Miller tripled their nation’s total in one fell swoop.
Davis, White on golden path
Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the Olympic short dance and are one performance away from a gold medal.
The reigning world champions earned an international personal best 78.89 points and lead 2010 gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada by 2.56.
Virtue and Moir rebounded from a shaky performance in the team event with a much stronger showing. But Davis and White, skating last, have overtaken their training partners over the last four years, and it was no different Sunday.
“I told Charlie in the middle of the program I felt like I was in a dream,” Davis said. “It is such a surreal experience.”
The free dance is Monday, when Davis and White can become the first Americans to win Olympic gold in ice dancing.
Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia were 3.29 points behind Virtue and Moir.
Davis and White’s twizzles are at another speed from the rest of the field, and yet they spin across the ice in perfect unison. Skating to “My Fair Lady,” they gaze at each other and into the crowd with an exuberant bliss.
“They fly,” said their coach, Marina Zoueva, who also works with the Virtue and Moir. “They really did the best this program can be done, with joy. Total joy.”
U.S. speedskaters still blanked
The prospect of a medal shutout at the speedskating oval for the first time since 1984 grew more real for the U.S., as no American women managed to come near the podium in the 1,500 meters.
Heather Richardson had the best showing, skating her second-best time at sea level in 1 minute, 57.60 seconds to wind up seventh.
The Dutch, with Jorien ter Mors picking up the gold, swept the medals in an event for the third time at Adler Arena, giving the skating-crazed nation 16 of 24 long-track speedskating medals.
◆ American Lindsey Jacobellis failed to make it to the medal round of women’s snowboardcross. She was leading in her semifinal race when she crashed near the end of a slushy course.