Overall Worldcup Title
Bode Miller on Top
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MILLER SLAMS THE DOOR ON RAICH, WINS OVERALL TITLE
Miller becomes first American to win overall since 1983
Switzerland (March 12) - Bode Miller (Franconia, NH), looking
to defend his World Cup giant slalom title and needing to finish
14th to clinch the overall crown, finished second Saturday in
GS and became the first American to win a World Cup overall title
in alpine since 1983.
Life Network will have coverage of all the action from World
Cup Finals Sunday at 3-5 p.m. ET, a special two-hour show including
all races and awards presentation. OLN's "Winter Revolution" show
Wednesday night at 10 ET (9 MT) will have in-depth Finals cover,
Stephan Goergl had the fastest time on each run Saturday as he
won the GS at World Cup Finals in 2:10.51 and Miller, one day
after his historic tie with teammate Daron Rahlves (Sugar Bowl,
CA) in the super G, was second in 2:11.19. That enabled him to
match the 1983 feat when Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney were
done," Miller said of his title quest. "It's over."
wasn't stressing before the race, he said. "I was already up
by 184 points, so I wasn't overly concerned. I'm bummed out,
though, that I didn't win the GS title" for a second straight
With one race left, Miller is 204 points ahead of Austrian Benni Raich, who
finished third and clinched the 2005 giant slalom title. Raich, who needed
to win both races this weekend - the GS and Sunday's slalom - and hope Miller
didn't finish 15th or better either day, joined Austrian Ski Team coaches and
program officials in congratulating Miller in the sunny finish area.
emotions - high for the overall, bummed about GS
"It's a little disappointing [losing the GS title], but I skied well," Miller
said. "Today, a lot of it was not out of my control, but on these skis - since
I blew up my other good ones [in a race crash], it's challenging for me to find
speed on flatter sections."
Men's SL/GS Head Coach Mike Morin, "It's done. There's no pressure
for [Sunday's slalom]. That can just be fun...but this one was
special. To see Benni Raich lay down the kind of second run he
had, as he can do - challenging everyone to get up to the next
level...and then Bode answers him and does it, was incredible.
was pretty much awestruck by Benni's performance. It was great,
no question, and then Bode came right back at him, not only to
seal the overall but to defend his GS title, too.
was not only exciting," Morin said, "but very dramatic, very
pressure-packed as everyone anticipated what was going to unwind,
what would happen."
the shootout for the GS title, Raich came in three points ahead
of Miller. But Miller got the big prize, the overall title.
Rahlves, Schlopy skied well, too
"It was a great duel," Morin said, "but we also had some more great skiing from
Daron in GS - he's so solid now, so confident...and Schlopy once again was in
there. I've said many times, our GS team is the best team we have right now,
and to put three guys into the top 15 at Finals, and on a day when one of our
top guys [Spencer] doesn't finish, shows how strong they are."
a Boston Red Sox fan, drew a brief comparison between their World
Series win last fall, ending an 86-year drought and his overall
championship ending a 22-year dry spell for U.S. skiers. And
with the New England Patriots winning their third Super Bowl
in four years - a predawn victory he watched at USA House in
Bormio, Italy, during World Championships, he said, "It's been
a good season for us in New England.
it was with the Red Sox, it was becoming embarrassing [since
'83]. It was more than just a sports record, more like some kind
of curse." At the same, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that
accompanied Boston's annual baseball fizzle "didn't get that
way with skiing," he said, "because no one cares about skiing
in the U.S."
some observers may have felt he was running low on energy after
failing to score a point in two races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia,
two weeks earlier - especially with Raich winning and placing
third that weekend, Miller said he wasn't. And he didn't feel
any special pick-me-up or energy transfusion coming into World
Cup Finals where he performed so well with a co-victory and two
second-place results in three races to clinch the overall title.
didn't feel there was any monkey on my back," he said, referring
to his missed opportunities to capture the overall crown in previous
seasons. "I've been racing solid the whole time, although I had
a couple of mistakes here and there, but I felt pretty comfortable
coming into this series...
had great energy in Kranjska Gora ...crashes have nothing to
do with energy ...mistakes don't have energy ...But that was
the story of my season. When I was making big mistakes, I was
winning races and being on the podium," he said.
wasn't concerned whether people felt he was sluggish or perhaps
tired after three straight seasons of skiing every race. "I don't
pay that much attention to what anyone says at all. I think it's
humorous, only one example in our culture where people make assumptions
on very limited information," he added.
what will he do with his second globe of the week (after taking
the super G title with Friday's co-victory with Rahlves, pushing
him past Hermann Maier of Austria) and third in his career? "Bring
it back home. My GS globe from last year's still in the box;
it's more of an emotional victory for me. The globe's a great
trophy," Miller said. "Maybe someday it'll go up."
who repeatedly has said he's more concerned with "the process" of
skiing well than with victories, won the GS title in 2004 when,
after he had skied off course ast World Cup Finals in Sestriere,
Italy, the final giant slalom was canceled because of unsafe
conditions during a snowstorm that created poor visibility and
soft underfooting. The leader when that race was scrubbed? Daron
win came about an hour after Sarah Schleper (Vail, CO) had the
fastest time on each run and won her first World Cup, taking
the women's slalom with two other Americans in the top 10.
pays off for Schleper
Schlep today, it was awesome," said Miller, who watched parts of the race. "I've
given her pep talks all season" and gave her encouraging comments this past
week in Lenzerheide where the U.S. men are staying in separate hotels. He explained
that the snow isn't always injected for the women, as it is for the men, to
make it firm - but local organizers injected the course and she seized her
better on firmer snow; she was totally excited about it. We talked
the other day about it. I talked to her between runs and told
her to go for it, to kill it," Miller said.
incredible - just great for Bode and for Sarah, too; it's never
easy when you're standing in the start gate after leading that
first, but she did it. Today's so exciting," said U.S. Alpine
Director Jesse Hunt, who was Ski Racing Junior of the Year in
1983 while growing up in Stowe, Vt. "You knew Benni wasn't going
to give the thing away. He put down a helluva second run and
Bode came right back and answered it. He didn't back off, either.
now we can all breathe a sigh of relief," he added, laughing.
who added GS this season - including the bronze medal in giant
slalom at the World Championships - while emerging as a solid
three-event racer, was sixth (2:11.96). Erik Schlopy (Park City,
UT) was 14th and Dane Spencer (Boise, ID) didn't finish his second
led from start to finish of the season, matching a feat last
accomplished by Ingemar Stenmark in 1978. He has skied in every
World Cup race over the last three seasons; the last time Miller
- a Carrabassett Valley (ME) Academy graduate - did not enter
a World Cup race was March 6, 2002 when he skipped the downhill
at Finals in Lillehammer, Norway; his streak, including Saturday,
is at 113 straight races.
falling short in the final weeks during the last two seasons,
Miller looked shaky in recent weeks ago. He failed to finish
both races in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, two weeks ago but rebounded
last week in Kvitfjell, the speed site north of Lillehammer,
by finishing fourth in DH and fifth in super G. He came to Lenzerheide
52 points ahead of Raich...and rediscovered his racing touch.
ready for big stage at Finals
Miller was second Thursday in downhill and then, the next-to-last, racer, tore
down the new Silvano Beltrametti course, surviving a mistake at the bottom
to deadlock Rahlves in the super G. It was Rahlves' first triumph of the season
but Miller's seventh; the U.S. record for men is eight, held by Phil Mahre,
from the 1982 season, while Tamara McKinney holds the women's mark seven, from
men's season concludes Sunday with slalom. First run is at 3
a.m. ET, second run at 5:30 a.m. ET. First run of the women's
GS is at 4 a.m. ET with second run at 6:30 a.m. ET.
a tremendous buzz around town about Ted [Ligety - Park City,
UT] and how fast he is, what he can do, and he'll get a chance
to show everyone," Morin said. "He's ready...and we'll all just
enjoy the day.
is a big sigh for everybody - not just for Bode, to get the big
one, but a sigh for the coaches, the service staff, the administration...and
the other athletes. One race to go and then on to nationals."
U.S. Alpine Championships are March 29-April 5 at Mammoth Mountain,
ALPINE WORLD CUP
World Cup Finals
Lenzerheide, SUI - March 12, 2005
Men's Giant Slalom
1. Stephan Goergl, Austria, 2:10.51
2. Bode Miller, Franconia, N.H., 2:11.19
3. Benni Raich, Austria, 2:11.31
4. Hermann Maier, Austria, 2:11.35
5. Fredrik Nyberg, Sweden, 2:11.82
6. Daron Rahlves, Sugar Bowl, Calif., 2:11.96
14. Erik Schlopy, Park City, Utah, 2:13.76
Dane Spencer, Boise, Idaho