One arrived at the Games a reigning world champion bearing the full weight of Olympic expectations. The other arrived at the Games a former world champion bearing the full weight of Olympic disappointment. But by the end, Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller had delivered five alpine skiing medals to the U.S. while at the same time taking a page from each other’s book. Unlike Miller four years ago, Vonn embraced celebrity and the pressure, using it to hammer the accelerator to win her first race, the women’s downhill. After the gold, she could barely contain her emotion. Neither could Vonn’s frenemy Julia Mancuso, peeved that her superb two-silver performance took a backseat to the golden girl. The iconoclastic Miller, who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, deal with expectations in Torino, grabbed a surprise bronze in the men’s downhill, lifting the weight for him too. Then, a funny thing happened. The slightly distracted Vonn skied her next four races the way Miller used to on the World Cup tour — flat out, devil may care. Result: a bronze in the super G, three DNFs (did not finish) and a broken pinkie thrown in for good measure thanks to a crash. Miller then did a Vonn, showing virtuoso skiing in winning a gold in the men’s super combined and a silver in the super G — an event Vonn has been dominating in the World Cup.
Olympic Highs and Lows