Raich upstages Bode for skiing worlds supremacy
BORMIO, Italy – Bode Miller first lost two gold medals, then a ski in the downhill. On Saturday, he lost his status as the premier skier at the world championships.Austrian Benjamin Raich took the honors, becoming the most decorated male skier of the championships after putting together two brilliant slalom runs on the rapidly deteriorating Stelvio course to win his second gold medal and fourth overall.
Raich also won gold in the combined last week, took silver in the giant slalom and got a surprise bronze in the super giant slalom.Leading after the first leg in the slalom, Raich posted a combined time of 1 minute, 41.34 seconds. Teammate Rainer Schoenfelder was second, 0.24 back. Local favorite Giorgio Rocca of Italy was third, 0.74 behind, adding to the bronze he won in the combined. “I am maybe more consistent,” Raich said when asked about Miller. “He started very well with two golds. I started more moderately, with a bronze. But now I have four medals, including two golds.”
Miller began the championship in spectacular fashion, humbling the Austrians with stunning wins in the downhill and super-G.But Miller, the defending slalom champ, lost control in the first run of the giant slalom and burst through an advertising banner, ending his chances of becoming the first man to win world titles in five different events.He seemed poised to complete only his second slalom in eight attempts this season Saturday, when, showing uncharacteristic restraint, he made it down fourth in the opening leg.
After some confusion between runs when he lost his No. 13 bib and had it replaced by a blank one with No. 200 scrawled on it in marker, Miller then charged down with his usual fervor. However, he straddled a gate midway down, failing to finish for the third time at these championships and leaving him 1-8 in slalom this season.Miller refused to speak to reporters afterward.No American skier finished both slalom runs on Saturday.
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