“Bode Miller is flying,” yelled the announcer, and he was.
The New Hampshire skier handled the ruts, the bumps and fallaways like the veteran that he is at the Winter Olympics downhill Sunday. His run had a special feeling to it, but in the end, it wasn’t to be on this overcast day in Sochi.
He smashed into several gates in the middle part of the course and finished eighth.
"I didn’t make any mistakes today, the bottom of the course got slower and I was leading up until that point,” Miller said at the bottom of the race hill at Rosa Khutor Ski Area.
Miller has more World Cup starts than anyone else here at the games in Alpine skiing and had won the two training runs. His Olympic run had the crowd on its feet for over 3/4 of the descent.
"The light was flat and I couldn’t see the snow as good as I liked," Miller said. "This course has teeth and it can bite you at any moment. It was my type of downhill.”
Miller talked all week about how much he like the track and how challenging it was. Many thought he would rule the day.
However the day belonged to Matthias Mayer, son of the famous Austrian ski champion Helmut Mayer. He blew the pre-race predictions apart with an electrifying run to win gold in the men's downhill on Sunday morning.
The 23-year-old went one better than his father, who took silver in the super G at the Calgary 1988 Games. The Austrian has never tasted victory in a major international downhill race before.
"I only started to realize my success when I stepped on to the podium," Mayer said.
Miller now set his sights on the Super Combined of downhill and slalom later in the week.
Miller is in his best physical shape in recent years.
"For all the years in racing from Olympics to World Cup, it has become a little old hat to me, although I’m in great shape, I still need to find a bit of motivation.”
The sting of this result might just be the motivation he needs. If his career says anything about his ability, it's best not to bet against Bode when he is down. With Miller, anything is possible and he like the pressure and he likes coming from behind.
This is Miller’s fifh and final Olympics, he has five Olympic medals and a pickup truck of World Cup and World Championship trophies. He wants to go out on top and this is the place for him to make his final statement of ski racing domination. And we all know it will be fun to watch in the upcoming Olympic events.