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Olympics: Medal-less US men still seeking first podium

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Super-combined world champion Ted Ligety said there were "no excuses" as the much-vaunted US men's alpine ski team again missed out on the Olympic podium on Friday.

The team, also featuring veteran Bode Miller, are still looking for their first medal at the Sochi Games after the downhill and super-combined.

Ligety, a gold medallist at the 2006 Turin Games, said the conditions in warm weather at Rosa Khutor had made for "funky results".

"You can see the results sheet," he said. "It's far from the World Cup result sheets. But we all have to ski and deal with it. There are no excuses."

Miller, 36, followed up his eighth place in Sunday's downhill with a sixth-placed finish in the super-combined, an event in which he won gold in the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

Ligety could only finish 12th after a disappointing downhill and hesitant slalom on a course set by notoriously demanding Ante Kostelic, father of silver medallist Ivica.

"Really tough day of racing, congrats to (Sandro) Viletta, Kostelic and (Christof) Innerhofer on their medals. It was hard fought," Millar tweeted.

"I'll never stop pushing myself past my limits, but the mistakes that come with it are hard to swallow. #frustrationstation."

Miller admitted he had made "a bunch of mistakes".

"When you make mistakes on this snow -- the snow action I thought was pretty good -- it's really responsive, so when you made a mistake and got on the front of the ski, it really slows you down a lot," he said.

"The mistakes don't look as dramatic, but the mistakes I made were just deceleration. You can feel them, and I could tell halfway down.

"I started trying to look for too much and then I made more. I could just feel the speed going away."

A third US racer, Jared Goldberg, actually finished one place above Ligety, and proclaimed: "I'm happy to be alive!

"I think my head almost exploded, there were so many different places to mess up. I was just looking for places to be clean and carry speed."

The slalom course, Goldberg said, was "ugly, there was just combos (combinations) into combos all the way, there was no rhythm and it really tested our skills".

Goldberg hailed Kostelic's skiing ability but said racing on courses set by one's father must be an advantage -- even though course setters are decided by drawing lots.

"Kostelic has got his legacy, he's always been a really good slalom skier and all-round skier," Goldberg said.

"But it definitely helps, he probably trained on these kind of courses all the time. It helped he had his dad setting, but it doesn't matter because it's still a race."

But it was not all gloom and doom, with Miller predicting fortunes will pick up.

"The tactics are there. The skiing is there. You just can't make mistakes like I did today," the veteran said.

The only alpine skiing medal that the United States have won so far at the Sochi Games is in the women's super-combined, in which Julia Mancuso took bronze.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140214/olympics-medal-less-us-men-still-seeking-first-podium