Wednesday, December 1, 2004

A blockbuster debut for Bode

Miller throws down at Lake Louise

Mr. Miller "threw down," and enjoyed an impressive speed debut last weekend at Lake Louise, Alberta, according to the U.S. Ski Team.

World Cup leader Bode Miller, 27, of Franconia, N.H. won the men's downhill and super giant slalom openers at Lake Louise and became the first skier to open a Cup season with three straight victories. Miller had won the giant slalom debut Oct. 24 in Austria.

Attacking all the way Saturday, Miller stormed through the two-mile course with a nearly flawless run and breezed to his first-ever World Cup downhill victory by almost a full second over France's Antoine Deneriaz.

"It's awesome, not only to win a downhill but to win the way I wanted to," said Miller. "I attacked the hell out of the course. I was really aggressive and didn't make any mistakes."

Sunday, Carrabasset Valley Academy product Miller became one of only five skiers to win in all five racing disciplines. He captured his 15th Cup victory (7 GS, 4 SL, 2 combined, 1 DH, 1 SG) by winning the super giant slalom by .14 seconds over reigning World Cup SG king Hermann Maier.

The back-to-back wins seemed to vindicate Miller's desire to ski in all events. He said, "It's great to have the results to back up my philosophy of racing. I'm 27. I've been working a long time for this. I'm not a rookie."

His DH win Saturday was the first by an American man in Canada since Tommy Moe's SG victory at Whistler, B.C. in 1994. Austrian men had dominated at Lake Louise since the men resumed racing there in 1999.

In both speed races, Daron Rahlves of Sugar Bowl, Ca. placed fifth.

Meanwhile, the World Cup women raced gates in the Aspen (Colo.) Winternational. Kristina Koznick's sixth place in Saturday's SL was the best for the Yanks. Janica Kostelic of Croatia won the SL and Finland's Tanja Poutiainen the GS.

The World Cup men and women flip-flop this weekend—the men going to Beaver Creek, Colo. for the four-race VISA Birds of Prey series (SG, DH, GS, SL) and the women tackling their first speed races at Lake Louise Friday through Sunday, Dec. 3-5.

Sun Valley's Carl Rixon Jr. is forerunning at Beaver Creek.

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