SNOWBASIN, Utah (Feb. 12) - The U.S. men are looking to prove their versatility Wednesday at the men's combined ski event at Snowbasin Ski Area. Three U.S. skiers will compete: Bode Miller (Franconia, N.H.), Casey Puckett (Aspen, Colo.) and Jakub Fiala (Frisco, Colo.).
Miller is coming off a strong World Cup season with four victories (three in slalom, one in giant slalom) in 2001-2002. A giant slalom and slalom competitor at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, Miller did not finish and will be looking to make his first Olympic mark in the combined on Wednesday.
"I think there are a bunch of factors about the Olympics and about this course in particular that favor me as opposed to helping some of the other guys," Miller said. "First, there's a more technical downhill. Another is it's going to be a lot shorter, and there's a separate downhill and a separate slalom run."
Teammate Fiala finished 12th in combined at the 2001 World Championships, but is competing in his first Olympic Winter Games. Puckett is the reining U.S. champion in the combined and is returning to his fourth Games -- only the second U.S. male alpine skier to do so.
The U.S. men are competing with a strong pool of athletes, including 1998 silver medalist Lasse Kjus of Norway and 2000-2001 World Cup champion Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway.
The combined event consists of one downhill run at 10 a.m. and two slalom runs at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The skier with the fastest combined time wears the gold.