Truckee’s Rahlves has one last chance
SESTRIERE BORGATA, Italy ” Daron Rahlves was the last American hope for a medal in the Olympic super-G on Saturday after Bode Miller skied off course.
Miller flew around the first couple of curves and rather than going around the fifth gate, burst right through it, slicing it in half, and proceeded to pirouette on his right skis with his left bouncing wildly in the snow until he wrenched it back around and came to a stop.
Scott Macartney had spent some time in the leader’s box but had already been bumped out of the podium by the time Rahlves’ run came around.
“With the super-G, it’s the one event I just haven’t had the confidence in like downhill and giant slalom,”said Rahlves, who ended up in ninth Saturday. “I just shake my head at the way I was skiing. I needed to be clean and smooth, and I just wasn’t doing that.”
Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt defended his Olympic title Saturday, becoming, at 34, the oldest Olympic medal winner ever in alpine skiing and adding to his whopping lifetime medal count.
With 12 world championship medals in his lifetime, Aamodt earned his eighth Olympic medal Saturday, finishing with a time of 1 minute, 30.65 seconds, closely followed by Austrian hero Hermann Maier, who took silver in 1:30.78 and Switzerland’s Ambrosi Hoffman (1:30.98), who took bronze.
Macartney was the top American with seventh place (1:31.23).
Rahlves had come to the Games hoping for medals in all of his events ” downhill, SG and giant slalom. He finished 10th in last week’s downhill, but felt that his skiing was far better than in Saturday’s SG.
“The toughest thing today was the weather conditions,” he said, referring to the heavy morning snowfall that forced an afternoon restart of the race. “It was really bumpy, really aggressive snow, and I had a hard time keeping my skis on the ground.”
Even before he broke through the start gate, the race wasn’t going right for Rahlves.
“I had the wrong thoughts in my head,” he said. “I just wasn’t super-confident getting into the start gate. In the downhill, it was different. I skied it pretty damn good. Today, the skiing just wasn’t there.”
Rahlves, 32, has said he’ll retire from ski racing after this year. Saturday’s super-G did nothing to induce a change of heart.
“When it’s days like these, I don’t want anymore,” he said. “I’m ready to move on.”
Move on, that is, after Monday’s giant slalom. Having finished second to Miller in December’s World Cup GS at Beaver Creek, and having won the GS world championship bronze medal last year in Bormio, Italy, Rahlves feels he can take home a medal in his last Olympic event Monday.
“I want to go out there and feel good in GS and make it happen,” he said. “I’ve got to be able to forget about today and come back and have a good run on Monday.”