Sunday, February 24, 2002
Miller wins only U.S. Alpine medals
PARK CITY, Utah -- Bode Miller's two medals can't hide yet
another bust by U.S. Alpine skiers at the Winter Olympics.
Bode Miller's medals don't overshadow a horrid performace by the U.S. Alpine team.
Miller got silvers in the giant slalom and the combined event,
the first medal by an American man in either, and was heading for
another medal in Saturday's slalom until he flopped on the final
But no other American got close to an Alpine medal. Only one
woman cracked the top 10. Other than Miller, no U.S. man was in the
top seven of a race.
It was an all-too-familiar story for a team that hoped an
Olympics on home slopes would lead to a record medal haul.
U.S. women's coach Marjan Cernigoj said the Olympics followed
the same pattern as the 2001 world championships, where the U.S.
women also were shut out.
"If you don't get a medal first in the speed events, where you
really have a chance, then the screw tightens every day just a
little bit more," he said. "What disappointed me at the end here
was the fear of failure overcame the desire for success."
Since 1984, a span covering five Olympics, only two U.S. men
have won Alpine medals -- Miller and Tommy Moe, who won two at the
1994 Lillehammer Games.
The U.S. woman were shut out of Alpine medals here for the first
time since the 1988 Calgary Games, and the retirement of Picabo
Street deprives the squad of its only proven winner.
Caroline Lalive and Kristina Koznick were considered medal
contenders, but both had trouble getting down the mountain.
Lalive fell in the downhill, the combined and the super giant
slalom, making it nine straight races in the Olympics or world
championships she has failed to finish. Koznick, a favorite in the
slalom, fell near the bottom of the first run.
Kirsten Clark also came into the games with medal hopes, but
finished 12th in the downhill, 14th in the Super G and 26th in the
"I feel terrible. It was a disappointing Olympics for me,"
Clark said. "It's the Olympics, it's home soil, but it didn't work
Bill Marolt, president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard
Association, tried to look ahead, saying the Americans "have a
core of women that over a period of time is going to be a really,
really great team."
He refused to say whether coaches will be retained.
"Any future decisions will be made after we've had a chance to
evaluate where we are," Marolt said Saturday. "I don't think it's
fair to anybody to make any decisions until you have the time to
evaluate where you are and what's going on."
Miller single-handedly got two-thirds of the way to Marolt's
prediction that Americans would win three Alpine medals.
Miller rallied from far back to capture silver in the combined
event, and another dramatic second-run dash moved him from seventh
to second in the giant slalom.
But he was far from the most successful skier at the Salt Lake
Stephan Eberharter won three medals -- gold in the giant slalom,
silver in the Super G and bronze in the downhill -- to finally
emerge from the shadow of Austrian teammate Hermann Maier.
Norwegians Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Lasse Kjus won two medals
apiece. Aamodt won gold twice, in the combined event and the Super
G, giving him a record seven Olympic medals in Alpine.
Sweden's Anja Paerson and Austria's Renate Goetschl won two
medals apiece in women's events, but the biggest winner of all was
The 20-year-old Croat won an unprecedented four medals, and
joined Jean-Claude Killy and Toni Sailer as the only Alpine skiers
with three golds in an Olympics.
Perhaps the most emotional victories came from a French team
still mourning the loss of team leader Regine Cavagnoud, killed in
an October training accident.
The French won two golds and four medals overall in Alpine
skiing, their biggest medal haul in the sport since the 1968
Grenoble Olympics in which Killy swept to three gold medals on home
"Regine skied for pleasure. She's a great inspiration for us,"
said Jean-Pierre Vidal, who won the men's slalom. "We're very
close on the French team. After Regine's death, we all got together
and vowed to keep a passion for skiing."