It seems like the U.S. Olympic Alpine Skiers were feeling like the Olympic Games were slipping away from them, as the Austrians had been dominating the medal count. With Lindsey Vonn out due to injury, people looked to Bode Miller and Ted Ligety to step up to the plate for the Americans. Up until Sunday the only win for Team USA was a surprise Bronze from Julia Mancuso in the Women’s Super Combined. Going into Men’s Super G, all were watching as world-class athlete, Bode Miller, set out to capture another medal at age 36. At the end of the day the U.S. team would be revitalized, with Andrew Weibrecht taking home silver and Bode Miller tied for the Bronze.
Miller has had a tough year trying to focus on getting ready for Sochi. The loss of his brother in the last year has had a huge affect on him emotionally. Adding more fuel to the fire is his current custody battle for his 11-month old son. All of this is combined with the fact that he is at the end of his professional skiing career as the oldest competitor in Sochi for Alpine skiing at 36. As Bode competed in earlier events, things were not going as planned. Then came the Men’s Super G. As Bode crossed the finish line he was not convinced it would be enough for a medal, but it was. He tied with Jan Hudec from Canada to seize the Bronze medal. This was Miller’s 6th Olympic Medal, making him the oldest Alpine Skier to ever win a medal in the Olympic Games. After the race, Miller had a very emotional interview that showed viewers a humanized version of Bode, and how this year had really affected him. His journey had taken many twists and turns, and without his brother present he broke down, hardly finishing an interview with reporters. Although Miller said it was not his best day skiing, he was more than pleased with being back on the podium.
Andrew Weibrecht, who took home the Silver Medal in Men’s Super G has also had to overcome multiple challenges prior to Sochi. Coming into the Games with a Silver Medal in Super G from the 2010 Vancouver Games, Weibrecht was a toss up for how he was expected to perform. Over the last four years Weibrecht has battled injury after injury, including two shoulder and two ankle surgeries. This has led to an interesting career for Andrew; he has never landed on the podium during a World Cup event. In fact, his only major medal was the Bronze in Vancouver. Putting in a lot of work over the last year paid off big for Weibrecht, finishing only 0.30 seconds behind the Gold Medalist Kjetil Jansrud from Norway (Norway has won this event four times in a row).
With a few more Alpine Skiing events schedule this week, the American’s are hoping to up their medal count and possibly squeeze past the Austrian team. Check back for and update later this week.