Bode Miller Fails to Medal in Men's Downhill Final at Sochi 2014 Olympics

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2014

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 08:  Bode Miller of the United States skis during training for the Alpine Skiing Men's Downhill during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Bode Miller, who was one of the top contenders in the men's downhill event, failed to earn a place on the podium Sunday. The American's eighth-place finish was a major disappointment on Day 2 of the 2014 Olympics after he saw so much success four years ago.

The New York Times' Olympic feed passed along word of Miller's downhill fate, as well as reaction from his teammate, Travis Ganong:

USA Today's Joe Fleming provides his finishing time:

The Wall Street Journal noted the medal winners for the event:

Fleming and Roxanna Scott, also of USA Today, tweeted out photos of an understandably disappointed Miller:

Making his fifth Olympic appearance for the United States, the 36-year-old was coming off his best Games after winning three medals, including a gold, in Vancouver.

He was confident about his chances in 2014. Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post provided comments from the skier ahead of the competition. Miller felt his preparation was putting him in a position to succeed:

I'd say I have a lot more experience. I know what the process is. It's easy for guys who are so excitable to push too hard, to do too much too early. I definitely know that winning a training run doesn't matter much. I've done that so many times. I think I have a good process for how to build into a race.

Unfortunately for Miller, things didn't play out as he hoped. Coming up short of the podium amid such high expectations is shades of 2006, when he arrived to Turin, Italy, with plenty of hype but failed to win a single medal.

Make no mistake: The Sochi course was providing a formidable test for the skiers. Miller had solid training runs, though, and appeared poised to bring home another medal.

A lack of regular competition over the past couple of years due to a knee injury could have been a factor. He hasn't needed that extra gear as often as he would have probably liked in between Olympics, but he arrived to Sochi healthy and ready to go.

In the end, it simply didn't translate into success in the downhill, the first Alpine skiing event of the Games. It shows that the margin for error, even for the top athletes in any discipline, is extremely thin on the Olympic stage.

The failure to medal in the downhill event will put extra pressure on Miller for the rest of the Olympics, but as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! notes, his best opportunities to medal are in front of him:

If he can bounce back, the event will become an afterthought. If not, it will get viewed as the start of another frustrating Games for the American.