For the first day in a week, the skies over Whistler's Dave Murray Downhill course were cloudy and cold, so perhaps it's fitting that the GS victory went to Switzerland's Carol Janka, nicknamed The Iceman. Janka, who's been skiing great all season, put down the fastest combined time in the two-run event to secure the gold by a margin of .39 seconds. Behind him, Norway's Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal, whose bronze today is his third of these games. Like Bode Miller, Svindal now has one of each color, and like Miller, he's a five-event skier.
Bronze, silver and now gold: Bode Miller is three for three in these games, earning his first Olympic gold in today's super combined event at Whistler's Creekside venue. With two events to go before the Games close, Miller shows no sign of stopping.
Does a bronze medal spell redemption? Does a first-place finish in Monday’s training run mean Lindsey Vonn is sufficiently recovered from her painful shin injury in advance of Wednesday women’s downhill. And is the notorious Whistler weather finally about to give race organizers a break? Yes, we think, on all three.
I recalled how Jim Tracy, a United States ski-team coach, described the first time he saw Vonn ski. “She’s hauling down the mountain, her skis probably going 60,” Tracy told me, “but the rest of her was hardly moving. It was like watching water flow down a hill.” —Bill Pennington, from his profile of Lindsey Vonn in this weekend's New York Times Magazine
It’s only when things go wrong that you get a sense of how absurdly dangerous alpine racing’s speed events are.
Downhill Viewed in the two dimensions of television, downhill looks deceptively tame. No camera angle really captures the rate at which these speed freaks travel, the steepness of the terrain, the forces they withstand or the heights at which they soar when speed and terrain conspire to spit them into the void. Should a skier make one tiny error of line or balance, one momentary loss of vision or tactical miscue and, in an instant, Olympic dreams crash and burn.
Staging in the starthouse alongside such skiing stars as Bode Miller and Benjamin Raich at the 2010 Olympic slopes will be a lesser known -- but no less driven -- Olympian. Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, who will be skiing under the colors of Ghana, his home country, learned to ski just six years ago at an artificial snow dome in England, but has nevertheless qualified for the Vancouver Games.
On the runup to this weekend's always-thrilling Hahnenkamm races in Kitzbuhel, Austria—and just a few weeks before the 2010 Olympics—Bode Miller has received a couple of well-desrved boosts. For starters, of course, he took his first World Cup win in Wengen, Switzerland, last weekend—his first in close to two years.