Mixed results for NH Olympians
Kris Freeman (USA) competes in men's cross country skiing 15km classic during the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center. (Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)
Sunday's Olympic downhill was won by Austrian Matthias Mayer, who previously had never topped a World Cup podium, and the pattern continued in Friday's super combined when the favorites were left in the shade by Swiss outsider Sandro Viletta.
While Miller had a difficult time on the slopes at Rosa Khutor, another Granite Stater, Andover’s Kris Freeman, wilted in the heat on an already challenging cross-country course at Krasnaya Polyana. Skiing in his fourth Olympics, Freeman was the fourth and last American in the 15-kilometer classic, placing 52nd overall from a field of 92.
There are New Hampshire ties to Saturday’s most anticipated men’s hockey game, as well, with former Manchester Monarchs Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown skating for the United States against Russia, along with former University of New Hampshire forward James van Riemsdyk. Former Monarchs Slava Voynov is a defenseman for Russia.
Competing in his fifth Olympics, Miller skied like a demon in the first few days of training last week, punching in some quick times. But since the weather has turned warm and sunny, his speeds have cooled off.
“It's going to be tough,” he told reporters after blaming mistakes for his failure to defend his super combined title.
“It's just mistakes,” added Miller, who with five Olympic medals and four world titles is the United States’ most decorated skier.
“The tactics are there, and the skiing is there, but I just can't make mistakes like I did today.
With temperatures at Krasnaya Polyana’s Laura Cross Country Ski Center reaching 50 degrees and turning snow to mush, Dario Cologna of Switzerland reigned won the 15K gold medal with Swedes Johan Olsson and Daniel Richardsson earning silver and bronze, respectively.
“I wish my fitness had come around for me today,” he said. “I was racing really cautiously because I go right over the edge so easily. I’m not happy with the result, but I put everything I had out there.”
In large-hill qualifying, Alexander and Fairall — who on Sunday was named the New Hampshire Union Leader’s Red Rolfe Male Athlete of the Year for 2013 — both landed jumps of 120 meters, but Alexander scored slightly higher with the judges, totaling 96.6 points to Fairall’s 95.7.
The large-hill final follows the first round on Saturday.
Martyn Herman of Reuters reported on the men’s Alpine skiing from Rosa Khutor.