Bode Miller Wins first Olympic Gold in Super Combined

Bode Miller of the U.S. won the men’s super-combined ski event at the Vancouver Winter Games, picking up his first Olympic gold medal.

Miller, 32, finished in a time of 2 minutes, 44.92 seconds to beat Ivica Kostelic of Croatia and Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland. Miller was seventh after the downhill portion of the event before recording the third-fastest time in the slalom runs to fulfill his goal of becoming an Olympic champion.

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The most successful Alpine skier in U.S. history with 32 World Cup victories, Miller won two silver medals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. He failed to medal in any of his five races at the 2006 Turin Games and took a hiatus from the sport while considering retirement last year. Miller decided to return to the U.S. ski team and won a silver medal and a bronze in his first two races of the Vancouver Games before today’s gold.

“‘It feels great to have the freedom to ski the way I want without worrying about results,’’ Miller said in an interview broadcast on Canada’s CTV. ‘‘In Turin, I didn’t want to be there.”

Miller’s gold was the eighth medal in Alpine events for the U.S., which tops the Winter Games standings with 23 overall.

The previous high for Alpine medals in a Winter Olympics for the U.S. was five at the 1984 Games in Sarajevo.

Seven Golds

The U.S. now has seven gold medals in Vancouver, two better than Norway and three ahead of Germany, Switzerland and host Canada. Germany is second in the total medal standings with 14, followed by Norway with 11.

Russia’s Evgeny Ustyugov, 24, won the men’s 15-kilometer biathlon at Whistler Olympic Park, the second gold medal of the Games for Russia. Martin Fourcade of France was second, while Pavol Hurajt took the bronze for Slovakia.

Michael Schmid of Switzerland won the gold medal in the men’s ski cross, an event making its Olympic debt in Vancouver.

Medals also will be awarded in women’s biathlon; women’s 1,500-meter speedskating and men’s two-man bobsleigh. The start time for the bobsleigh event was pushed back 2 1/2 hours to 4 p.m. due to warm weather at the track on Blackcomb Mountain.

Canada will play the U.S. today in men’s hockey, as the Americans look to end a 50-year drought against the Canadians in Olympic competition. The matchup, scheduled for 4:40 p.m. local time, follows a meeting between Russia and the Czech Republic and precedes a game between Sweden, the defending Olympic champions, and Finland.

Canada and the U.S. have faced each other 15 times in Olympic competition, with Canada winning 10 and tying three. The last U.S. victory came in 1960 in Squaw Valley, California.

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