Men's SL at Deer Valley: Tough Turns Toss Miller

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Park City, UT, Feb. 23, 2002 (AP by Rob Gloster)--Bode Miller fell twice on a treacherous final slalom run that wiped out many of the top contenders, leaving the gold medal to a Frenchman making his Olympic debut.

Jean-Pierre Vidal, who three years ago severed ligaments in both knees in a training accident and spent 45 days in a wheelchair, won by 0.76 seconds over French teammate Sebastien Amiez.

Alain Baxter won bronze, becoming the first British skier to win an Alpine medal. From Scotland, Baxter is known as ``The Highlander.''

Vidal, who turns 25 on Sunday, won in 1 minute, 41.06 seconds. Amiez had a time of 1:41.82 and Baxter's time was 1:42.32.

Miller, trying to win his third medal of the Salt Lake City Games, started the afternoon run in second place, trailing only Vidal.

Miller was nearly a second ahead of the rest of the field entering the second run, and had already seen several skiers fall or miss gates on an incredibly tricky course that had the world's top skiers nearly hopping from gate to gate.

He could have skied carefully and waltzed to a medal.

But the aggressive Miller threw himself down the mountain, and got thrown off the course twice. He got up both times, but finished nearly 12 seconds behind Vidal.

Vidal, who had a lead of 2.15 seconds over Amiez from the first run, delicately twisted down the slope and took the gold.