American veteran Bode Miller once again topped training on Tuesday in the super-combined, but lamented his decision not to undergo eye surgery before the Olympics after a missing out on the downhill podium.
The 36-year-old, competing at his fifth Winter Games, clocked 1 minute, 56.42 seconds down a shortened Rosa Khutor piste, with officials battling warmer weather and softening snow.
He finished a full 4.50 seconds ahead of U.S. teammate and world champion Ted Ligety while rival Alexis Pinturault of France was fifth in the first official training session for Friday’s super-combined race.
“I felt like I obviously let myself down on race day (in the downhill) and I wanted to come out and figure out how I was going to make up time now the conditions have changed,” said Miller.
“It’s really a completely different race course than it was in those training runs. In the super-combined in particular, it’s going to be tough because there’s all the good slalom skiers and it’s a tough hill for slalom and it’s going to cause some separation.”
Miller said his performance in Sunday’s downhill, in which he finished eighth, 0.52 seconds behind Austrian Matthias Mayer — after topping two training runs — had been “a pretty big letdown.”
“I skied as hard as I could and as hard as I would. I couldn’t have taken any more risk. Maybe I could have taken less, but that’s hard to ask of a racer on Olympic downhill race day.”
Miller also lamented the fact he had not gone ahead with laser eye surgery before the Games to help him through the “flat” light that swathes snowy slopes when the sun goes in.
“I haven’t won in five years when the sun’s not out,” he said. “I was supposed to get eye surgery earlier this year … we just never found the time to do it because the race schedule is so tight.
“We were pretty pissed off looking back on that that we hadn’t figured out how to do that.
“For me my vision’s critical. When the light’s perfect I can ski with any of the best guys in the world, and when it goes out my particular style suffers more than the guys who are more stable and don’t do as much in the middle of the turn.”
Miller said the changed conditions on the mountain would play a big part in the race outcome.
“In the original downhill (training runs) we ran, when it was icy and hard, it would have been amazing because it would have been a real challenge for the slalom guys,” he said.
“It would have been a pretty big gap on the downhill side of things. I think it would have been a great race and beneficial to me.
“But now the conditions have gotten a lot easier and it’s more equal in the downhill, it’s going to be hard to put time on guys.”