By Patrick Lang
ST MORITZ, Switzerland (Reuters) - Bode Miller failed to complete his last race before the Winter Olympics, a giant slalom in St Moritz at the weekend, but the American made it clear his ambitions remained high for this month's Sochi Games.
"I'm ready. My skiing in general is pretty solid. It was the idea to keep getting stronger and come to the Olympics ready to win in every race," said the 36-year-old World Cup veteran, who will be competing at his fifth Winter Games in Russia.
Miller, who missed the entire 2012-13 season to treat lingering knee problems, has staged a highly successful comeback campaign, standing on the podium three times in three different events.
One of the most versatile talents of his generation, he has already collected five medals, including one gold, since his Olympic debut in Nagano in 1998 and will defend his super-combined crown in Rosa Khutor at the February 7-23 Games.
The once maverick poster boy of alpine skiing has now matured and can claim to be the only skier of such high profile to have taken part in that many Games.
"It seems like a long time ago. It goes by very quickly," he said of his Olympic debut in 1998.
"I wasn't thinking much beyond that day. When you're so young you have infinite possibilities ahead of you. Some 400 races or so later, I'm a very different person now," he added.
Miller has already competed in all five alpine skiing disciplines at the Olympics and will enter at least four in Sochi, with the slalom likely to make way having been a weak event in recent seasons.
"Slalom is still a mystery but that's the way slalom is," he said.
His most successful Games came in Vancouver four years ago where he claimed three medals but experience has taught Miller not to have any special expectations.
"We'll have to see. It's different each time you go. It depends on what you bring to the Olympics and what the Olympics is on its own. Every time you go, it's a unique event," he said.
"The hill looks great and there have been concerns about the snow but they have snow. The course suits me well, it's long, a bit like Wengen (in Switzerland) maybe. It's gonna be a matter of how the conditions hold up but I'm ready," he said.
Miller's most recent performances were far from encouraging, however, as he failed to finish his last three races, but the American insisted weather conditions were to blame rather than his form.
"The World Cup has been a mess this year I hope the Olympics bring something new in regards to the conditions," he said.
(Editing by John O'Brien)
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