BODE MILLER SETS NEW RECORD WITH NIGHT SLALOM WIN IN SESTRIERE, ITALYBode Miller won a World Cup slalom on Monday night, December 13, setting a new record for the fastest time in which any ski racer has ever won races in the four disciplines which make up the alpine World Cup. Miller’s time down two courses at Sestriere, Italy — the second run held under bright floodlights — was 1.27 seconds faster than that of Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland.
It took Miller just 16 days to accomplish a feat that few other skiers have even approached. Only six other skiers have ever won in every discipline, and only two — Marc Girardelli and Petra Kronberger — have won a downhill, super G, GS and slalom in the space of a single season. And neither of them did it as quickly as Miller, who has taken the World Cup by storm this year, more than doubling the point total of the next-best skier on the tour, Hermann Maier of Austria.
Miller has won six of the ten World Cup races this season, including those relevant to this record: He was victorious in a November 28 super G at Lake Louise, a thrilling December 3 downhill at Beaver Creek, the December 12 giant slalom in Val d’Isere and, on the following night, the slalom at Sestriere.
A clear night in Sestriere…
It was a cold and clear night in Sestriere, with the first run starting just before sunset, and the second run taking place under bright floodlights on the slope that will be used for the slalom at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy.
Only one American man had ever won a slalom there — Tyler Palmer of Sun Valley (but originally New Hampshire)back in 1971. But Miller was confident, telling reporters the day before the event that he wanted to win by a second and half.
Two other Americans skied brilliantly, as if buoyed by Miller’s self-confidence. Tom Rothrock skied to sixth place, and Ted Ligety — the 2004 Sprint/Ski Racing Junior of the Year — was in 11th after the first run before blowing out.
Ligety got locked up on his tails near the finish. When he started hiking, the crowd cheered loudly, and Ligety threw his arms in the air triumphantly when he reached the gate he’d missed. He then came into the finish and pulled the finish-line trick that is becoming his signature: a long arc back up the hill, dragging his hip and hand on the snow.
At least a dozen gates shattered during the race, as athletes took the tightest line possible in an effort to knock Miller off his pedestal. Giorgio Rocca, the home-crowd’s favorite, appeared to have the best chance, only 0.63 seconds behind Miller on the first run. But while Miller stood in the start for the second run, waiting for every challenger to run before him, he could look all the way down the straightaway piste at Sestriere and see Rocca’s mistake — getting caught up near a flush near the finish and blowing out.
Kalle Palander made some huge mistakes — rare for the Finnish technician. Felix Neureuter(pronounced “NOY-roy-tur”), the young wunderkind out of Germany, had a brilliant first run, finishing fourth, but made mistakes that might not have tripped up an older, more experienced skier (like Ligety, Neureuter is 20 years old).
Joining elite company…
Miller won four events in four nations in just over two weeks. That 16-day span was shorter than the 21 days it took Kronberger to win four events in December of 1990, and the 71 days Girardelli needed in 1989.
The only way Miller could top his own performance would be to win a running of the World Cup’s only other discipline — the oft-forgotten combined, which combines a skier’s time in both downhill and slalom. Miller has been dominant in that event for years (getting Olympic and world championship medals, and winning combineds at Chamonix and Kitzbuehel last year).
Kronberger did that two weeks after her four-event streak, with a combined win in front of her countrymen at Bad Kleinkircheim, Austria, on January 7, 1991.
But there is no combined event on this year’s World Cup calendar until January 14, at Wengen, so Miller will not have an opportunity to surpass Kronberger’s record of winning in each event — plus combined — in a space of just six weeks. That is, of course, unless he starts the cycle over again later this year and wins the events clustered around that date.
Not long after setting her record, Kronberger retired from the sport, having won the overall World Cup title three times in her short and brilliant career.
Marc Girardelli, representing Luxembourg, won a race in each discipline in 1988-1989. It took him the better part of the season.
Before super G was introduced to ski racing in 1982, a total of 13 skiers won in all of the available disciplines. Among them Nancy Greene, Jean Claude Killy, Michele Jacot, Hanni Wenzel, Annemarie Moser-Proell, Francois Macchi, Henri Duvillard and Reinhalt Tritscher.
“I would not forget the record of Killy,” said Patrick Lang, who’s father was one of the World Cup’s founders. “The 1967 [season] started on January 5th and three weeks later, on January 28th, he had won three downhills, two slaloms and one giant slalom (and the combined in KitzbÃ¼hel and Wengen of course).” Killy pre-dated the invention of super G, but his streak was certainly remarkable. “He would have won super G’s while sleeping,” says Lang.
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Men’s Slalom (night)
Dec. 13, 2004
1. Bode Miller, USA 1:39.03
2. Silvan Zurbriggen, SUI 1:40.30
3. Kalle Palander, FIN 1:40.44
4. Benjamin Raich, AUT 1:41.34
5. Akira Sasaki, JPN 1:41.35
6. Tom Rothrock, USA 1:41.53
7. Manfred Pranger, AUT 1:41.56
8. Manfred Moelgg, ITA 1:41.67
9. Rainer Schoenfelder, AUT 1:41.78
10. Johan Brolenius, SWE 1:41.83
11. Kentaro Minagawa, JPN 1:41.93
12. Alois Vogl, GER 1:42.01
13. Thomas Grandi, CAN 1:42.07
14. Andre Myhrer, SWE 1:42.14
15. Kurt Engl, AUT 1:42.15
16. Michael Janyk, CAN 1:42.18
17. Jean-Pierre Vidal, FRA 1:42.23
18. Hans-Petter Buraas, NOR 1:42.41
19. Martin Marinac, AUT 1:42.71
19. Drago Grubelnik, SLO 1:42.17
21. Naoki Yuasa, JPN 1:42.77
22. Lasse Kjus, NOR 1:43.46
23. Ted Ligety, USA 1:50.32
24. Giorgio Rocca, ITA 1:51.60
25. Felix Neureuther, GER 2:01.21
other North Americans:
DNQ 2nd: Erik Schlopy, Jesse Marshall, James Cochran, Chip Knight, USA; Ryan Semple, Jean-Philippe Roy, CAN.
By Hank McKee
Men’s night slalom, Sestriere, Dec. 13, 2004 Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Miller, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Zurbriggen, Fischer/Lange/Tyrolia
3 Palander, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Raich, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Sasaki, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
6 Rothrock, Fischer/Nordica/Marker
7 Pranger, Volkl/Lange/Marker
8 Moelgg, Dynastar/Lange/Look
9 Schoenfelder, Fischer/Nordica/Fis
10 Brolenius, Head/Nordica/Tyrolia
It is the tenth race of the men’s 35 race (+2cmb) World Cup season. … The 2nd of 9 scheduled slaloms. … It is the first of two scheduled night slaloms.
It is Bode Miller’s 18th career World Cup win. … His sixth of the season. … It is his fifth career slalom win. … and first SL win of the season. … It is the 149th U.S. win. … Miller ties Tamara McKinney for second most World Cup wins (18) in U.S. history behind only Phil Mahre (27). … It is the fourth U.S. win at Sestriere… The last two both on 3/10, the first by Tyler Palmer 12/19/71. … That was the second U.S. men’s win in Europe (the first also from Palmer). … Kristina Koznick won a Sestriere SL 3/10/2000 and Daron Rahlves a DH 3/10/2004. … Miller joins Marc Girardelli and Petra Kronberger in winning in each of four race disciplines (DH-SL-GS-SG) in a single season. … Kronberger achieved feat between 12/2/90 and 12/21/90 (20 days) … Girardelli between 12/17/88 and 2/26/89 (71 days). See below.
It is Silvan Zurbriggen’s first career podium. … He has been top 10 nine times (7 SL, 2CMB). … It is the first Swiss podium of the season. …
It is Kalle Palander’s 16th podium (10 of those wins) 12 in SL, 4 in GS. … It is his second podium of the season and second third place finish of the season. …
It is a career best finish for Tom Rothrock … He has been 9th three times all in slalom. … It is his first score of the season. … It is the 43rd time Thomas Grandi has placed top 15. … four of those coming this season. … It is the first career scoring finish for Michael Janyk. … Ted Ligety finished 23rd. … the first of three finishers who finished but did not score due to time back of the winner. … The last time Canadian men had two scorers in a slalom was also at night, at Schladming 1/27/2004. …
The Japanese have not had three skiers score in a race since Are slalom 3/11/2001.
Miller’s overall lead in World Cup expands to 730-339 over Hermann Maier (did not race). … Daron Rahlves (DNR) is next top American in 6th at 236. …
Benjamin Raich (placed 4th) leads the slalom standings 150-110 over Kalle Palander. … Miller is third at 100. … Austria leads the Nations Cup 3608-2091 for US… Austria leads men’s standings 2211-1155 for U.S.
Skiers who have won in the four disciplines include Kjetil Andre Aamodt, Pernilla Wiberg, Guenther Mader and Pirmin Zurbriggen, though not in the same season. … Prior to adding super G in 1982 there are 13 skiers who scored in all available disciplines… Nancy Green – who won all three in same season in both of her competitive seasons, (’67-68). … Jean-Claude Killy – ditto Green. … Michele Jacot – all three one season once (’71). … Hanni Wenzel – (’84). … Others pre-dating SG who scored in all three disciplines but not in same season: Annemarie Moser-Proell, Francois Macchi, Henri Duvillard, and Reinhalt Tritscher.