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• Photo gallery: Winter Olympics Friday Feb. 19
By HOWARD FENDRICH
WHISTLER, British Columbia — Leave it to Bode Miller to bring a little trash talk to Alpine skiing.
After his silver and Andrew Weibrecht's bronze behind winner Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway in yesterday's super-G, Miller was asked to explain why the Americans have been dominating the slopes with six medals through four races at these Olympics.
Miller smiled that here-comes-a-good-one smile of his and began, "Aside from the fact that we're just much better than everybody else ..."
Can't really argue with the guy.
With six events still to go, the United States already has collected its most Alpine medals at a single Winter Games, topping the five at Sarajevo in 1984. Norway is the only other country with more than one medal so far, thanks entirely to Svindal, who also got a silver in the downhill.
Indeed, that first medal eased his mind before yesterday's race. Standing in the start gate, with Miller and Weibrecht holding the day's top two times to that point, Svindal thought to himself, "You already have a silver and it can only get better, so enjoy this and give it all you have. Don't hold anything back."
He finished in 1 minute, 30.34 seconds, 0.28 faster than Miller of Franconia, N.H., who gave away time at the bottom of the course and acknowledged he "ran out of gas a little bit." Weibrecht of Lake Placid, N.Y., never before fared better than 10th in a significant race but wound up only 0.03 of a second slower than Miller.
"If you don't watch ski racing every weekend, you might miss my name," Weibrecht deadpanned. "It definitely feels good to establish myself."
While two-time reigning World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn was pegged to collect a bushel of medals at Whistler, no other U.S. skiers distinguished themselves enough in the leadup to generate much buzz.
So much for that.
Vonn won a gold in downhill, Miller earned a bronze plus his silver to become the first U.S. Alpine skier with four career Olympic medals, Julia Mancuso won two silvers, and the undersized and unheralded Weibrecht finally climbed on a podium. And if that's not enough, Miller and Weibrecht were the first American men since twins Phil and Steve Mahre in 1984 to win medals in the same Alpine event — that after Vonn and Mancuso doubled up in the women's downhill.
"I don't think anyone was expecting this," said Marco Sullivan, who was 23rd yesterday. "It was 'The Lindsey Vonn Show' coming in, and now it's turned into 'The U.S. Ski Team Show' — and it's really cool."
So back to the question Miller was posed: Why?
Could be as simple as early success breeding more success.
"It's definitely inspiring having Julia and Lindsey and Bode all doing really well to start the Olympics," Weibrecht said.