Saturday, February 25, 2006

He came, he partied, he shrugged
Miller Fails Yet Again in Final Race

SESTRIERE, Italy (AP) -- Favorite Giorgio Rocca of Italy crashed and top American hopes Ted Ligety and Bode Miller also were eliminated in a brutal first of two runs of the Olympic men's slalom Saturday.

With defending Olympic champion Jean-Pierre Vidal of France sidelined with an arm he broke Friday while skiing for pleasure, the final Alpine race of the Turin Games was a wide-open affair.

Benjamin Raich of Austria, gold medalist in the giant slalom, was fastest with a first-run time of 53.37 seconds, only 0.01 seconds ahead of Kalle Palander of Finland. Kentaro Minagawa of Japan was third, 0.07 out of the lead.

Miller, the World Cup overall champion a year ago, will leave the Italian Alps without a medal. He finished his lackluster Olympics by straddling a gate just a few seconds into his run, then skied off the course and raised his arms in mock excitement.

Miller, who has been a local nightlife fixture throughout the games, told The Associated Press he was content with his experience.

"As far as my own personal involvement, I would not change anything. I had an awesome Olympics," Miller told AP sports columnist Jim Litke in an interview. "My preparation certainly could have been different, but I'm not a guy who looks back."…

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