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Bode Miller wins bronze in men's downhill

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(Read caption) Bode Miller takes a turn in the men's downhill at the Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia. Miller won bronze in the event.

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Bode Miller began to resuscitate his Olympic image Monday morning, finishing third in the men’s downhill with a time only 0.09 seconds behind the winner, Didier Defago of Switzerland.

It is the third Olympic medal of Miller’s career but his first since 2002, when he won two silver medals – one in the giant slalom and one in the combined.

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In between, Miller had a disastrous Olympics in Turin. Though he was favored to win multiple medals, he won none and was criticized for his clashes with US ski officials and his late-night party habits.

Miller’s three Olympic medals are the most ever won by an American man in alpine skiing, surpassing the two – both gold and silver – won by Tommy Moe and Phil Mahre during their Olympic careers.

Miller finished on the podium Sunday by skiing a clean race on course besieged by rain and fog during the past few days. The race, which was scheduled for Saturday, had already been postponed once, but the weather at Whistler was good Monday, with no threat of rain and temperatures near freezing.

Skiing eighth, Miller took the early lead, with Canadian Erik Guay and Austrian Mario Scheiber coming closest to matching his time of 1:54.40.

But it could not withstand the murderer’s row of downhill skiers that came later. Aksel Lund Svindal, a Norwegian skiing 16th, edged Miller by 0.02 seconds. Two skiers later, Defago topped Svindal by 0.07 seconds.

The result came as a mild surprise. Defago was considered the No. 3 Swiss speed skier coming into the event, with countrymen Didier Cuche and Carlo Janka among the favorites to win gold.

Miller’s best event, the combined – which combines a downhill run with a slalom run – is scheduled for tomorrow. In three World Cup combined events this season, Miller has a 1st, a 5th, and a Did Not Finish.

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