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2010 Winter Olympics: Bode Miller takes bronze

WHISTLER, British Columbia — Bode Miller capped his comeback to the U.S. Ski Team with a bronze medal Monday morning in men's downhill at Creekside Whistler.

"Everyone was a little bit shocked at how it looked this morning," said Miller, who won two silver medals in Salt Lake. "There were a lot of changes, and maybe that helped build a little of the anxiety and the excitement, and then everyone starts to get it."

Miller was the eighth skier of 16 finalists to tackle the slope, and he did so in 1:54.40.

Switzerland's Didier Defago won the gold medal with a time of 1:54.31; the silver went to Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway, who sped down the hill in 1:54.38.

Miller said he hoped to find a balance between enjoying the emotional aspect of the Olympics and focusing on the technical skill required by the sport.

"The big games are different, they're more important, there is more stuff to them," said Miller. "There is more energy and that can be positive. Sometimes I've tried to repress that and just make it like another World Cup race because that's the best way to get a good result. But it's definitely not as fun. You have to accept that it's different. You have to feed off the energy, feed of the enthusiasm that everyone here has, the inspiration. Hopefully you let that elevate your level of performance rather than make mistakes."

Sundance's Steve Nyman finished in 20th place (1:55.71); Andrew Weibrecht, Lake Placid, N.Y., was 21st (1:55.74); Squaw Valley resident Marco Sullivan finished 60th (2:07.76).

IN WOMEN'S ALPINE, Lindsey Vonn had the fastest time in the women's downhill training, but she said the bruise on her shin was aggravated by Monday's training.

"It's tough," said Vonn. "I honestly was expecting it to be a little bit better than it was. Yesterday I trained on it and it felt OK. But the course here is pretty bumpy; I was pretty shocked. It was, like, jarring; it was a fight to make it down. I was barely in my tuck at any part of the course. I think this is the worse course for my shin. I just have to fight through it, so some therapy now and hopefully Mother Nature will give me another day off tomorrow. I just have to be able to grit my teeth and fight through it on Wednesday and hopefully still come out on top."

Vonn said she may skip training Tuesday if officials only open half the run. Weather reports were not good, so it's likely she'll get her wish and have a final day of rest before Wednesday's race.

U.S. skier and defending Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso was in second place in Monday's training.

IN WOMEN'S CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, 10 km free, Caitlin Compton was the top U.S. finisher with a time of 26:49.1;

The gold medalist was Charlotte Kalla, Sweden, with a time of 24:58.4; Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, Estonia, won silver with a time of 25.05; Marit Bjoergen, Norway, was third with a time of 25:14.3.

The other U.S. women had solid finishes, led by Morgan Arritola, was 34th, with a time of 27:04.4; Holly Brooks, was 42nd place, 27:17.6; Elizabeth Stephen, was 50th, with a time of 27:41.1.

Charlotte Kalla, Sweden, Kristina Smigun-Vaehi, Estonia, Marit Bjoergen, Norway,

IN MEN'S CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING, 15 km free, Dario Cologna, Switzerland, won the Gold medal with a time of 33:36.3; Pietro PillerCottrer, Italy, was second with a time of 34:00.9; and Lukas Bauer, France, was third with a time of 34:12.

The top U.S. finisher was Anchorage, Alaska's James Southam, who was 48th with a time of 35:58.2; Garrott Kuzzy, was 58th with a time of 36:41.6; Kris Freeman, was 59th, and finished in 36:41.6; Simeon Hamilton, was 64th, with a time of 37:30.5.

IN MEN'S 500 METER SPEED SKATING, Mo Tae-Bum, Japan, won the event with a time of 34.923. Korea took second and third with Nagashima Keiichiro, earning the silver and Kato Joji, finishing with bronze.

The top U.S. finisher was Tucker Fredricks, who lives and trains in Salt Lake City, and finished 12th. He earned a time of 35.138. His teammate Nick Pearson was 26th with a time of 36.094.

IN PAIRS FIGURE SKATING, U.S. pairs skaters Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig earned the best score of their season, but it was only good enough for 10th place. Teammates Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett earned 13th place.

China's Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo won the gold, while teammates Pang Qing and Tong Jian won silver. Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy earned the bronze.

IN WOMEN'S LUGE, Erin Hamlin was in 15th position after two runs, while Julia Clukey was right on her heels in 16th place.

The youngest member of the women's luge team, Megan Sweeney, was in 27th position.

The finals are scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Whistler Sliding Center.

e-mail: adonaldson@desnews.com