Janka wins; Miller out of giant slalom

Updated: February 24, 2010, 11:57 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Carlo Janka of Switzerland added the Olympic gold medal to his world championship in giant slalom on Tuesday, while Bode Miller failed to finish in his bid for a record fourth men's Alpine medal.

The 23-year-old Janka led after the first run and had a combined two-leg time of 2 minutes, 37.83 seconds.

Norway took the silver and bronze medals. Kjetil Jansrud jumped from 11th after the first run to take silver, 0.39 seconds back, and Aksel Lund Svindal was 0.61 back for bronze, matching Miller's three-medal tally at the Vancouver Games. Svindal won the super-G and was second in downhill.

Miller almost crashed in the top half of the course on the first run and then couldn't correct his line coming out of a right-hand gate in the second half.

[+] EnlargeBode Miller
Jerry Lai/US PresswireBode Miller was knocked out of the running for a giant slalom medal after missing a gate on his first run of the day.

"I'm taking more risk than everyone else. That's partly why I'm able to get medals," Miller told The Associated Press afterward.

"I did a good job today, too," he continued. "I was right there. I was right on the edge."

He also told the AP that he had trouble seeing the bumps on the course because of the overcast conditions.

"This light -- I knew I had an issue this morning. I'm not one of the better skiers in flat light. I tend to move a lot more," Miller said. "Some of those guys are so squared up and solid, the bad light doesn't affect them that bad. ... I hit any of those little bumps while I'm moving, if I can't see them, I blow out."

U.S. men's head coach Sasha Rearick said Miller "was skiing with passion" but paid the price when he tried to make up time.

"Bode skied great up top and then went down on his hip, made a recovery like only Bode can but came in late to the next panel and hooked a gate with his hand," Rearick said. "He then made another spectacular recovery and went straight back into hammering the line."

The 32-year-old Miller, from Franconia, N.H., won gold in the super-combined, silver in super-G and bronze in downhill, and was trying to become the first Alpine skier to win four medals in the same Olympics. His last chance will be in the slalom scheduled for Saturday.

With his giant slalom day over, Miller was intent on sneaking in some rest.

"That's what we're focusing on now, I guess," Miller said. "I knew I had to ski great today to give myself a chance. I came out of the gate doing it. There's very small margin of error for me on this course. Slalom is the same way. ... I'll have a good chance to rest now, get charged up for it."

Austria's "Wunderteam" was shut out of the men's medals for the fourth straight race at these games, settling for the 4-5-6 finishers in Marcel Hirscher, Romed Baumann and Benjamin Raich. Neighbor and big rival Switzerland now has two Alpine golds; Didier Defago won the downhill a week earlier.

Janka is known as the Iceman at home for his cool emotions, and his celebration was typically understated. He shook his ski poles low to the ground and then raised his arms above his head, allowing himself a smile of satisfaction.

Two days earlier, Janka had walked away angrily from the super-combined event where he finished fourth.

He arrived at the Olympics second in the World Cup overall standings and was projected by many as a breakout star. But Janka was a disappointing 11th in the Olympic downhill and eighth in super-G -- just 0.18 second behind bronze medalist Andrew Weibrecht of the U.S. -- before missing a super-combi medal by 0.22, in a race won by Miller on Sunday.

Jansrud had never won a top-level race but continued his recent excellent run in giant slalom. He had top-three finishes three times in World Cup races last month.

Svindal was third after the first run but made a big mistake in the top half of his run. He sat back on his skis approaching a left-hand gate and lost speed.

The weather-plagued Alpine program is now back on schedule. The GS was originally set for Sunday but was bumped two days to accommodate the delayed men's super-combined.

Whistler has enjoyed a weeklong dry spell, although racers skied in overcast conditions Tuesday.

Some rain and snow is forecast for Wednesday, when the women's giant slalom is scheduled.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.