Bernard Lagat added a notch to his resume on Friday night when he established a new national record for the 5,000 meters at the prestigious Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway. Lagat finished third in 12 minutes, 54.12 seconds, breaking the mark of 12:56.27 set by Dathan Ritzenhein last season. Ethiopia's Imane Merga won the race in 12:53.81, followed by his countryman, Tariku Bekele, in 12:53.97.
WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Here was a familiar scene: Bode Miller standing benignly on skis at the side of race course, poles dragging in the snow, a look of vague disappointment on his face. He is wearing a racing helmet and speed suit, but he is as still as the pine trees behind him and the plastic gates that line the mountainside, all dressed up with no place to go.
WHISTLER, British Columbia -- As massive, wet snowflakes fell on the Creekside alpine racing stadium Friday afternoon, Lindsey Vonn worked an adoring crowd. Autographs here, photos there, always a smile. The hood was pulled up on her white, U.S. Ski team jacket and a hat was yanked down to the top of her eyebrows, but there was no mistaking who was beneath the down and wool. You cannot cover up stardom.
WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Bode Miller woke up on Sunday morning feeling "pretty whipped," as he put it. His crash a few days earlier, during a downhill training run for the men's super combined, had left him not so much sore as out of alignment. "I flew 35 feet through the air and landed on my hip," he said. "I'm fine, but it kind of feels like I'm crooked."
WHISTLER, British Columbia -- Bode Miller's record-breaking bronze medal in Wednesday's Olympic downhill was even more impressive than it initially appeared. Hours after the race, Miller's uncle, Mike Kenney, who is also a coach with the U.S. Ski Team, told SI.com that Miller had undergone arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after Christmas, barely seven weeks before Monday's race. Miller's agent, Lowell Taub, confirmed the surgery in an email exchange on Tuesday.
Neda Agha-Soltan: The night before she was killed on the streets of Tehran, the woman the world would come to know simply as Neda had a dream. "There was a war going on," she told her mother, Hajar Rostami, the next morning, "and I was in the front."
The machinery is fully cranked. Cameras are aimed, stories are in process (including one in Sports Illustrated), video packages have been assembled. In just over two months, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will unfold in Vancouver and one U.S. skier will play the role of Michael Phelps, the athlete who can win multiple gold medals over the course of the Games, while delivering eyeballs to televisions and page views to Web sites. One athlete will be charged with monetizing the Olympic entertainment enterprise.
From the very first words out of Bode Miller's mouth, it was apparent that this day would be different. "First of all, thank you guys for coming here,'' Miller said, opening his portion of a press conference in Los Angeles, at which he announced that he would be rejoining the U.S. Ski Team, and attempt to qualify for his fourth Olympic Games five months from now in Vancouver.
March gets noisy around now, here in the States. Tickets to the Big Dance are punched daily, brackets are busted, NFL free agents are signing, and veterans are being released or given new life. (Good luck David Carr, and if Eli Manning goes down, I don't want to be you even for one minute). In Florida and Arizona, the regulars are playing deeper into every exhibition game as Opening Day draws near.
The first news of last weekend was not shocking at all. After a meeting with officials of the U.S. ski team in Park City, Utah, Bode Miller had elected to separate from the team with the intention of competing independently on the World Cup Circuit. Team officials had offered Miller his customary position on the alpine team, befitting for one of the most accomplished racers in the history of the sport.
1. Steffi Graf needed three stitches Sunday after husband Andre Agassi accidentally hit her in the face with his racket at a fundraiser. Agassi's first move was to comfort his wife. His second was to call the housekeeper so she could open up the sofa bed.
During one December stretch, the U.S. Ski Team scored an unprecedented nine (top-three) podium finishes in seven races over a six-day period. It was a stunning display of high-level racing by five skiers, and coming one year after a disappointing performance at the Turin Olympic Games, lent some credibility to the team's marketing slogan (or "goal," depending on who you ask): Best In the World.