Bode Miller

Bode Miller strong in Val Gardena downhill; Canadian wins

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Bode Miller posted his best finish in three downhill races this season Saturday, his comeback campaign from major knee surgery.

Miller, 36, was fifth in Val Gardena, Italy, coming in behind a podium of three more skiers who recorded their best results in months or years.

“I’ve been skiing well,” Miller said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “The fact is we just don’t have the whole thing together right now. We’re close, and we’re getting there.”

Canadian Erik Guay won in 1 minute, 56.65 seconds. The 2011 world downhill champion won a World Cup race for the first time since March 11, 2010.

Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud was second, .12 behind, his best World Cup finish since March 4, 2012. The Olympic silver medalist tore an ACL at the World Championships in February.

Frenchman Johan Clarey was third, matching his best World Cup result from Dec. 19, 2009. World Cup overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal was fourth.

Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist, continued to improve a day after taking eighth in a super-G. His best finish this season was second in a giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Dec. 8, but Miller is thought to be a better Sochi medal threat in speed events downhill and super-G.

Miller underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee Feb. 20, 2012, and missed all of the 2012-13 season.

“I skied pretty well, but it’s one of those courses where there’s not enough to it to bring it back in with my technical ability,” Miller said.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, on Sunday. American world and World Cup giant slalom champion Ted Ligety is the favorite.

Val Gardena Downhill
1. Erik Guay (CAN) 1:56.65
2. Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) 1:56.77
3. Johan Clarey (FRA) 1:56.89
4. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:56.94
5. Bode Miller (USA) 1:57.04
6. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 1:57.28
7. Manny Osborne-Paradis (CAN) 1:57.45
8. Werner Heel (ITA) 1:57.51
9. Jan Hudec (CAN) 1:57.55
10. Peter Fill (ITA) 1:57.57
13. Erik Fisher (USA) 1:57.79
16. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:58.08
19. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:58.41
38. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:59.67
40. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:59.84
48. Nick Daniels (USA) 2:00.50
DNF. Steven Nyman (USA)

Lindsey Vonn fails to finish Val d’Isere downhill

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

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Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics