- Alpine Skiing
Bode Miller leaves rivals in awe after epic Sochi downhill training run
ROSA KHUTOR, Russia, Feb 8 (Reuters) - A vintage Bode Miller set himself up as favorite for the showcase men's Olympic downhill on Saturday after rolling back the years with a storming run in a crash-hit final training session.
The 36-year-old American showman, who will become the oldest man to win an Olympic Alpine title if he repeats the feat in Sunday's race, sped down the icy Rosa Khutor course in two minutes 06.09 seconds.
Embedded video_content_type: Bode fastest in third downhill training run
It was the second time in three days that super-combined Olympic champion Miller has blown away the best and led the time sheets. Norwegian rival Kjetil Jansrud described the veteran's latest run as "epic".
"He's a great skier and you can see...how he does something that nobody else does," he told reporters. "He will be very dangerous tomorrow. I think he's probably the biggest favorite."
Embedded owg_slideshow: Sochi Olympics: Third men's downhill training
American teammate Marco Sullivan agreed: "That was pretty incredible skiing," he said. "If he can pull that off tomorrow, it's his race to lose in my opinion.
"He looks so smooth and fast on top and he let up through the middle a bit because I think he was trying to save some strength. So to still come down a second ahead it's pretty amazing."
'Unbeatable' was another word on other skiers' lips, although not Svindal's, and Miller made no bones about his aspirations in what are his fifth Games.
Embedded video_content_type: Bode Miller outpaces competition
"The idea is to be unbeatable. Race day is always different. It's going to be hard to stay calm," he told reporters in the finish, after a hug from compatriot and 1998 super-G champion Picabo Street.
"Some courses, if you get fired up or you have too much intensity, you go slower. This one I don't think is the case. I am going to be ready. I want to win," said Miller, who completed the run with an average speed of 99.79 kph.
Svindal, naturally enough, refused to accept it was his rival's race to lose.
Embedded video_content_type: Bode Miller breaks down second day of training
"Skiing is never like that. There are just to many things that can happen," he smiled. "But is he the favorite? I think so. He has been the best skier on this mountain.
"So right now he looks like the favorite. But there's me and three or four other guys that could beat him. So we'll see what happens."
Embedded owg_slideshow: Alpine skiing: Top 10 Sochi contenders - Men's downhill
Mayer was one of several skiers who failed to finish, with the first three out of the starting hut quickly finding themselves in trouble.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Slovenia's Rok Perko bloodied in downhill training crash
Slovenian Rok Perko, the first to go, left a bloodstained mark on the snow after a fall that led to a lengthy interruption.
Sullivan followed him out with an error that could have had major consequences but fortunately left him only slightly shaken.
The American lost control after landing off the Bear's Brow jump and was heading towards a flimsy-looking red plastic safety fence at high speed before veering to safety.
Embedded video_content_type: Perko has nasty crash in men's downhill training
Men's Ski Slopestyle Final
Men's Ski Slopestyle Final