American downhill racers had mixed results on Saturday in World Cup competitions when Bode Miller felt like he let a potential victory slip from his grasp because of "stupid mistakes" in Kitzbuehel, Austria, while Stacey Cook felt her skiing is "definitely going in the right direction" after taking fifth in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy.
Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist and two-time World Cup overall champion, finished on the podium for the first time this season after he missed last season because of a knee injury. Despite a series of outstanding runs in training this week, Miller said "you've got to execute on race day."
"I knew it when I came across the finish line that I'd just wasted another opportunity to win this course," Miller said. "It's too many times that I've made these stupid mistakes that aren't really forced. It's not on a tough part of the course, it's just a real basic part. So, it's pretty heartbreaking."
Hannes Reichelt won the event in a time of 2 minutes 3.38 seconds. Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal was second, 0.21 seconds behind Reichelt, while Miller was 0.34 seconds off the winning time.
Reigning World Cup overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia won the women's race in Italy in 1:37.79 seconds, with Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden of Switzerland taking second, 0.27 seconds back, and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein finishing third, 0.38 behind.
"I'm psyched with the speed that I have and the confidence to go out and attack," Cook said after her fifth-place finish. "Everything is getting better and better, and it's a really good feeling for the weeks ahead."
Teammate Julia Mancuso, a gold medalist in the giant slalom in the 2006 Turin Games and two-time silver medalist in the 2010 Vancouver Games, took seventh to match her best downhill finish this season.
“I really felt like I executed what I wanted to do today," Mancuso said. "I'm happy and I feel like I'm in a good spot going into the downhill for the Olympics."
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