In a sport ruled for so long by Europeans, skiing has produced the likes of Ingemar Stenmark, Jean-Claude Killy, Alberto Tomba and Hermann Maier. For now, however, there is a new...
GENEVA In a sport ruled for so long by Europeans, skiing has produced the likes of Ingemar Stenmark, Jean-Claude Killy, Alberto Tomba and Hermann Maier.
For now, however, there is a new look at the summit: Bode Miller a laid-back, New Hampshire-born skier is standing alone.
“He is a true champion,” Maier said. “I don’t think anyone can question that now.”
After a couple of strong years, Miller has harnessed his breakneck runs this season and is dominating the World Cup circuit.
On Monday night, racing under the floodlights on the 2006 Olympic slalom course in Sestriere, Italy, he won for the sixth time in 10 events this season.
Miller became only the second man to win races in all four disciplines slalom, giant slalom, super-giant slalom and downhill in a single season. And he did it in only 16 days; Marc Girardelli accomplished the feat over 72 days in 1988-89.
Miller leads the overall, downhill, GS and Super-G standings, and is third in slalom.
He has a huge lead of nearly 400 points (730 to 339) over Maier, last year’s winner, in the overall standings. Miller would be the first American since Yakima’s Phil Mahre in 1983 and first non-Austrian in six years to win the honor.
“Of course, I’m proud to be compared to such great champions, but the most important (thing) for me is to have reached the goal I set myself,” Miller said. “For the moment, I’m just happy to have achieved something which was important to me since I started to race all specialties. I knew I could do it and I’m happy to prove that I was right.”
Miller’s rivals welcome his success as a boost for the sport.
“It’s great for alpine skiing, really good for the entire World Cup,” said Finland’s Kalle Palander, who finished third in Monday’s slalom. “We really need heroes. We’re missing people like Alberto Tomba.”
Olympic gold medalist Janne Lahtela of Finland won a freestyle skiing World Cup moguls event in Tignes, France, edging Americans Travis Mayer and Travis-Antone Cabral. Jennifer Heil of Canada won the women’s event ahead of Olympic champion Kari Traa of Norway.
The coach and starter present when French skier Regine Cavagnoud was fatally injured during a practice session in 2001 will be charged with manslaughter, French judicial officials said. Coach Xavier Fournier and starter David Fine are to appear before a court in the Alpine French town of Annecy before the summer.
Sandrine Bailly of France won her second straight World Cup biathlon event, edging Olga Zaitseva of Russia by 3.3 seconds in a 7.5-kilometer sprint in Ostersund, Sweden.