Alpine skier Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid, NY won a surprise silver medal in the men's super-G event at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He was just 0.3 seconds slower than gold medalist Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. American teammate Bode Miller and Jan Hudec of Canada tied for bronze.
Weibrecht said of his finish that it was "probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I've ever had."
Weibrecht charged late at Jansrud's time of 1 minute, 18.14 seconds. He was ranked No. 29 heading into the super-G final. At these sunbathed Sochi Olympics, starting numbers above 22 have proved impossible to turn into medals on softening snow, and Weibrecht was in a bad mood the night before racing.
"I thought that 29 was kind of a death sentence in terms of having a good run," he said. "I consciously made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to let any of that affect my race."
Weibrecht peaked at the Olympics for the second time in an injury-ravaged career. Nicknamed "War Horse," he has blown out each ankle and gone through surgeries on both shoulders since the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, where he won the super-G bronze.
He lost his sponsorship from the U.S. ski team after a string of lackluster results, but that didn't make him any less of a threat in the eyes of the other skiers.
"With Andrew at the start, I was like, `There's a good chance he wins this run right now,"' said Miller, who took silver in the super-G at Vancouver.
Weibrecht's 2010 bronze hangs in the lobby of his parents' hotel in Lake Placid, host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games. In the wee hours of Sunday - there's a 9-hour time difference between New York and Sochi - Weibrecht's parents followed along at home.
"He had some really bad experiences," Weibrecht's father, Ed, said in a telephone interview. "It's been a struggle for him to come back, but he never wavered from that goal."
With reporting from the Associated Press