Bode Miller

Bode Miller struggles in Bormio downhill (video)

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Bode Miller had set himself up for success in Bormio, Italy, taking second and fifth in training runs at an Alps town where he’s historically flourished.

But Miller simply ran out of gas in a foggy, snowy World Cup downhill race Sunday. The five-time Olympic medalist finished 35th, well behind Norwegian winner Aksel Lund Svindal.

“This wasn’t good for my confidence,” Miller said, according to The Associated Press. “But my skiing was fine.”

Svindal prevailed by .39 of a second over Austrian Hannes Reichelt. Canadian Erik Guay was third.

Svindal, the world champion and World Cup overall leader, won his 25th career World Cup race, fourth this season and second downhill this season. He’s looking like the Olympic gold-medal favorite in the downhill and the super-G.

“Things are going well this season,” Svindal said, according to Agence France-Presse. “I am still in top form. There is always a risk with what bib you get for the race.”

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom in Bormio on Jan. 6.

Miller, 36, entered Bormio with momentum from fifth- and eighth-place finishes in speed races in Val Gardena last weekend. He placed outside the top 25 for the first time in seven speed races this season. A pair of his skis — for giant slalom — were stolen from under his motor home overnight, adding to the frustration.

“Unfortunately, now looking at this, it was an omen for how the day was going to go,” said Miller’s wife, Morgan, according to the AP. “He’s figuring it out for Sochi, and that’s all that matters.”

It was not his day in Bormio, but another American posted the third top-10 of his career.

Travis Ganong, 25, was 10th, three spots lower than his career best in Bormio one year ago.

Bormio Downhill
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 1:54.08
2. Hannes Reichelt (AUT) 1:54.47
3. Erik Guay (CAN) 1:54.59
4. Adrien Theaux (FRA) 1:54.97
5. Matthias Mayer (AUT) 1:55.04
6. Christof Innerhofer (ITA) 1:55.06
7. Didier Defago (SUI) 1:55.21
7. Guillermo Fayed (FRA) 1:55.21
9. Silvano Varettoni (ITA) 1:55.22
10. Travis Ganong (USA) 1:55.26
22. Marco Sullivan (USA) 1:55.89
35. Bode Miller (USA) 1:56.46
45. Jared Goldberg (USA) 1:56.96
46. Steven Nyman (USA) 1:57.07
58. Andrew Weibrecht (USA) 1:57.88
60. Bryce Bennett (USA) 1:58.07
DNF. Nick Daniels (USA)

Strange DQ in speed skating trials

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
AP
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career