American Bode Miller posted his second straight strong training run, finishing sixth Friday in practice for Sunday’s men’s downhill, which opens the Alpine competition at the Sochi Olympics.
Austria’s Matthias Mayr won the training run, with Switzerland’s Carlo Janka and Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal — perhaps the pre-Olympic favorite — and Austria’s Klaus Kroell also within .55 of a second of Mayer’s 2 minute, 6.51-second fastest time.
But Miller, who was fastest in Thursday’s first training run, was only a tick behind them despite one mistake he called “major,” a further indication that the 36-year-old could contend for what would be his sixth medal over an Olympic career that began in 1998.
Miller is battling a sore right knee, injured in a crash earlier this month.
“It’s a little sore,” he said. “It’s OK. It doesn’t feel like it’s getting any worse. It’s just, it’s a rattly course. There’s a lot of places where you’re kind of bouncing around, so when you’re bouncing around at my age it doesn’t feel that good.”
The American men’s team also took a step toward determining who will fill the last of its four spots in Sunday’s race. Veteran Steven Nyman finished 18th, beating Jared Goldberg (22nd) and Erik Fisher (23rd). The U.S. coaches were to huddle Friday afternoon to determine who will join Miller, Marco Sullivan and Travis Ganong in the downhill. The final training run is Saturday.