In a way, it all made perfect sense. In a sport where truly anything can happen on any given day, Miller has long been the ultimate who-knows-what-to-expect athlete. When expectations are absent, he can win. When the world expects greatness, he can disappoint. That's why the best skiers in the world are lucky to win 9 percent of their races. Bode will always be Bode. The recklessness that makes him great can also lead to mistakes. And he isn't going to change. Today, he pointed blame at the cloudy skies and Seattle-like weather, which he said made for a softer course and challenging visibility.
"The course just slowed down," he said. "It's one of the big challenges in ski racing. Sometimes it's not in your hands. When the visibility goes down, it affects me quite a bit. Guys who have a little bit better balance and initiation process in their turns, it doesn't faze them. I had to change a lot from the training runs today just not being able to see the snow."
Austria's Mayer, who won the race with a time of 2:06.23, agreed the conditions didn't do Miller any favors.
"In the last flat, there was a little bit of wet snow or soft snow, and I think a few hundredths of a second there really were the advantage," Mayer said.
Two weeks earlier at a World Cup event in Kitzbuhel, Austria, Miller dominated the final run of training by pushing his line to a risky place no other skier could match. But on race day, a small mistake here, another mistake there and a third-place finish in the end. That loss, Miller's wife said, brought her typically unemotional husband to tears.
But that wasn't an option in Russia on Sunday. With four more races to go before these Games draw to a close, Miller had to figure out how to move on. And so, at the bottom of the mountain, that's what he did.
"I like to make sure I know what my judgment of myself was on a given day before I submit myself to everyone else's criticism, judgment or opinions," he said. "I would have loved to have won, obviously. This is a premier event and something I've thought about quite a bit. But when it's out of your control, that kind of takes the disappointment away more or less.
"I think I skied well enough to win, but it just doesn't happen sometimes."
At least that's what he told himself.