Miller fails in record bid

By Simon Evans

WHISTLER (Reuters) - American Bode Miller ended his Olympics with three Alpine skiing medals after his bid for a fourth ended when he straddled a gate in the final slalom on Saturday.

In probably his final Olympic appearance, the super combined gold medalist, who also won silver in super-G and bronze in downhill, joined a string of non-finishers in tricky conditions with fog limiting visibility and sleet falling.

"I just hooked a tip and it's obviously disappointing when you are fired up and skiing well and everything is there," Miller told reporters.

"But it's the Olympics and we knew it was going to be challenging and tough with everyone skiing 100 percent," he said.

"You have to go out of the gate willing to take risks, you don't start taking risks halfway down -- you go out of the gate with the intention of maximizing every single turn and unfortunately my ski climbed up on the inside of that rut," said Miller.

No man has won four skiing medals in a single Winter Olympics and although the American missed out on that record, he was pleased with his Games.

"I'm psyched about the way I approached all these races and went in the gate -- there were a couple of races where I made mistakes and blew but overall this was an awesome two weeks," he said.

POSITIVE VIBES

Now Miller must decide whether the positive vibes of his Olympic experience, in stark contrast to his miserable time in Turin four years ago, will be the final chapter in his career or if he will push on toward next year's world championships.

First Miller will make a trip to San Diego to see his daughter, get his troublesome ankle looked at and after the World Cup finals in Garmisch next month he will weigh up his options.

He said the key was finding a way to get the good vibrations of the Olympics into the grind of the World Cup circuit.

"It felt like a grind, it felt like the way it was before, every week you are traveling and I was in hotels again, I had to deal with a lot of adversity," he said.

"But then to come into the Games and perform the way I did and feel the enjoyment from skiing and expressing myself on my skis the way I did it is phenomenal -- it's just a matter of if I can figure out a way to translate that into World Cup.

"I won't do it unless I think there is a good chance it will be successful and now I think there is a good chance of that," he added.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)