SOCHI, Russia -- This time, there was no question Bode Miller cared about his Olympic performance.
Eight years after going 0-for-5 at the Turin Olympics and bragging about how much fun he had at the local bars, a wiser and more humble Miller wept at the finish line Sunday after sharing a bronze medal in the men's Super G behind his U.S. teammate, surprise silver medalist Andrew Weibrecht.
At 36, Miller became the oldest alpine medalist in Olympic history.
His six medals also put him at No. 2 all-time among male racers behind only Kjetil Andre Aamodt. And, Miller is now tied with speedskating legend Bonnie Blair for second-most medals won by a U.S. Winter Olympian. Short tracker Apolo Anton Ohno has eight.
But it wasn't the milestones that had Miller choked up. The weight of the past year finally got to him, particularly his battle back from left knee surgery and the premature death of his 29-year-old snowboarding younger brother, Chelone "Chilly", in April 2013 of an apparent seizure.
"I've been to a lot of major championships and Olympics and this one was a little different, coming off an injury that could have been the end of my career and I was ready for that," Miller said. "I would have walked away happy and moved on. But my knee came back. When you go through that, you have time to reflect and look forward and I wanted to come in here and race in a way I'd be proud of. It's been hard the first few races (eighth in downhill, sixth in super combined).
"Compound that with losing my brother; that was really hard and just attached emotion to it because he wanted to come to these Games. I felt like that was all connected and raw and emotional for me, and in the finish it all just kind of came out."
Weibrecht, who had four surgeries in the past four years and wasn't sure he'd even make the Sochi team, was also emotional upon realizing he had won the silver. He is making a habit of blindsiding his Olympic competition. Four years ago, the 28-year-old Lake Placid. N.Y., native came out of nowhere to win the Super G bronze medal behind silver-medalist Miller at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
This one was an even bigger shock.
Weibrecht had only one Top 10 finish in 95 World Cup races the past four years, and never won a medal. He worried he'd lose funding from the U.S. Ski Federation. Then, when he found out he'd be starting No. 29 on Sunday, he figured the snow would have deteriorated by then and he was "bummed."
But once again, he saved his best for the Olympics. His parents will have another medal to hang at their Lake Placid hotel.