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Bode Miller Finally Wins Olympic Gold

WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Bode Miller has finally fulfilled his expectations and won an Olympic gold medal, using a blistering slalom run to complete a super-combined victory.

After placing seventh in the downhill run, Miller skied one of the fastest slalom legs for a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 44.92 seconds Sunday.

Miller, a double silver medalist at Salt Lake City in 2002, has also won a silver and a bronze at the Vancouver Games -- a sharp contrast from his no-medal performance in Turin four years ago, when he made more headlines for his late-night partying than his skiing.

Ivica Kostelic of Croatia took the silver medal, 0.33 seconds behind, and Silvan Zurbriggen of Switzerland claimed bronze, 0.40 seconds back.

Downhill leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway didn't complete his slalom leg, sealing the victory for Miller.

Miller was faster than Svindal on the upper section of the downhill run, but acknowledged a series of mistakes on the lower part. Still, having begun his career as a slalom specialist, he wasn't counting himself out and charged all the way down in the second leg.

Miller increased his lead at both checkpoints in the slalom. He skied fluidly on the top, then started to get bounced up in the air as he tried to maintain his speed on the quicker gates in the lower section, dropping some speed before the finish but maintaining enough to beat Kostelic.
Miller let out a big smile upon crossing the finish line and stuck out his tongue while the crowd roared its approval.

With his third medal, Miller matched retired Norwegian great Kjetil Andrea Aamodt for the most medals for one man in Alpine skiing at a recent Olympics.

Aamodt won two silvers and a bronze at the 1994 Lillehammer Games, while Jean-Claude Killy swept all three events at the 1968 Grenoble Games and Toni Sailer did the same at Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956.