Bode Miller crashes in super-G, will miss rest of worlds

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The American was seeking his sixth career medal at the world championships

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — It was spectacular, dramatic and scary.

Bode Miller crashed hard, nearly one minute into his world championships super-G run on the revered Birds of Prey course, after catching his left arm on a gate and quickly spinning 180 degrees. Miller smacked the snow, lost both skis and tumbled several times down the mountain.

He underwent surgery to fix a torn right hamstring tendon and will miss the rest of the world championships.

For the 37-year-old Miller, who had ambulatory back surgery 10 weeks ago, it was his first race of the 2014-2015 season.

At the time of his fall, Miller – the ninth racer out of the start – was charging hard down the piste in his trademark style, taking risk and cutting a tight line. He was fast and focused, clocking a split time 0.56 seconds faster than current leader, Georg Streitberger of Austria.

It appeared that his left ski, the second to eject from his bindings, jarred him on his right calf, resulting in a large gash.

Miller’s teammate Travis Ganong, who went wide on a gate as the third racer out of the start, radioed information to his team, including Miller, who skied ninth.

Ganong spoke to Miller in the finish area following the nasty crash.

“He said his whole body really hurt,” Ganong said. “He said it felt like he got hit by a truck and he has this huge laceration on his calf. He said he’s going to need like 100 stitches, it’s a big cut.

“He was having an amazing run going for a medal,” he said. “He was pushing harder than I’ve seen him push all year long and it was working.”

“He was absolutely sending it top to bottom, taking risk and was putting down a run that inspires Americans, inspires the world,” said U.S. men’s head coach Sasha Rearick. “Unfortunately, he took a nasty crash.”

With his wife Morgan, young son and daughter, and a near capacity crowd at Red Tail Stadium looking on, Miller got up after his crash and had no trouble skiing down the mountain.

“Instantly when a crash like that happens, your emotions go directly to ‘Is he going to be OK?'” Rearick said. “Initially, he said to me that his back is fine.”

Austrian Hannes Reichelt – the 2014 Hahnenkamm downhill champion, who missed the Sochi Olympics due to injury – won the world championships super-G race by 0.11 seconds ahead of surprise silver medalist, Dustin Cook of Canada. Frenchman Adrien Theaux took the bronze medal.

The defending world super-G champion, Ted Ligety, posted the best U.S. result finishing ninth, 0.70 off Reichelt’s pace.

“It snowed a lot the past few days and the snow was super soft, especially on the bottom glider sections,” Ligety said. “When it’s like that it favors the bigger guys. I feel like I skied pretty well, but when conditions are like that, I have to have an exceptional run on those flatter sections.”

Reichelt’s victory makes it two-for-two for the Austrians in Beaver Creek as Anna Fenninger won the opening women’s super-G on Tuesday.

“The U.S. guys stole our show in Schladming [2013 World Championships in Austria], so we are trying to do the same here in the U.S.,” Reichelt said. “I think the U.S. guys will fight back and that’s what makes the sport so interesting.”

Prior to Thursday’s silver medal coming out of the 28th start position, the 25-year-old Cook had not finished higher than 12th in a World Cup race.

“Nobody in Europe really knows who I am, so it’s a surprise to them, but for me it’s only a little bit of a surprise, nothing crazy because I knew I was capable of this,” said Cook. “The confidence was high and there’s nothing to lose at world championships.”

On what was an overall disappointing day for the U.S. skiers, Steven Nyman and Andrew Weibrecht finished tied for 20th.

Before the start of Thursday’s super-G on a bluebird day in the Colorado Rockies, a moment of silence was held in honor of U.S. Ski Team racers Ronnie Berlack of Franconia, N.H., and Bryce Astle of Sandy, Utah, who were killed in an avalanche while free skiing in Soelden, Austria, on Jan. 5.

“It was an emotional day,” Rearick said. “Everybody was focused on their job, but taking a moment to remember two great individuals, two great athletes, who were part of our family.”

The Alpine Ski World Championships, which are being contested in the U.S. for the first time since 1999, continue Friday with U.S. star Lindsey Vonn in the women’s downhill, followed by the marquee men’s downhill on Saturday.

Miller is a six-time Olympic and five-time world championship medalist. He also won overall World Cup titles in 2005 & 2008.


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