SOCHI, Russia — Although his brother died nearly a year ago, American ski legend Bode Miller became emotional Sunday when the memories returned during his super G bronze medal-winning performance.
Miller’s brother, Chelone, a snowboarder who aspired to be at these Olympics, fell victim to a seizure in California last April.
On a day when Bode, who has fought back from a serious knee injury, became the oldest (36) alpine skier ever to win a medal, his thoughts turned to a fallen family member.
When he completed his run, the tears flowed.
“This was a little different, coming off an injury,’’ Miller said. “At this point of my career, it could have been the end but my knee came back and I was willing to do the work.
“I had a lot of time to reflect and also look forward and I wanted to race in a way that I would have been proud of.
“Losing my brother was really hard. He wanted to come to these Games and I thought he probably had a chance to make it. But to pass away the way he did connected with the way I came back.’’
USA teammate Andrew Weibrecht captured the silver medal in the super G.
Miller, a five-time Olympian dating to Nagano, Japan in 1998, became the first USA skier to win medals in three different Olympics.
He was hoping to cap his career with his brother by his side.
“He (Chelone) was at every Olympics I was at,’’ Miller said. “He was there when I won my medals at Salt Lake. He didn’t come to Torino because of his head injury until the end. I took him to Dubai for a week and a half to play golf and bond.
“That was a really important post-Olympic experience for me.’’
Miller was asked how it felt to join ski immortals like Austria’s Hermann Maier and Kjetil Andre Aamodt.
“It means I’m old,’’ he said. “To be in a group with those guys is something I don’t think about on a regular basis, but the times that I do, it’s pretty overwhelming.’’
In Sunday’s event, Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud won the gold medal.
U.S. women icers in semis
The U.S. women’s hockey team faces a stiff test Monday when it meets Sweden in the first semifinal game.
In the second, favored Canada squares off with Switzerland.
The U.S. lost to Canada in preliminary round play. Canada has won the last three Olympic gold medals dating to Salt Lake in 2002.
Sweden took care of Finland, a tough cookie, in the quarterfinals and could be dangerous.
“We always believe in each other when we go and play,’’ said Jenni Asserholt. “We’re ranked sixth in the world. After Vancouver in 2010 we went down a little bit but now we are stepping up again and it feels great to be in the semifinals.’’
Canada expects to have forward Haley Irwin (upper body injury) ready for Switzerland.
“She’s a full green light,’’ said Canada coach Kevin Dineen. “She will be a great addition to our lineup.’’