Bode Miller of the United States skis during the Alpine Skiing Men's Downhill at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 9, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia -- They can ski a little in Austria, too, right?
For the past three days, the Austrian ski team heard everybody anoint the USA's Bode Miller as the overwhelming favorite in the men's downhill -- one of the marquee events of the Winter Olympics.
Miller, the five-time Olympic medalist and longtime World Cup superstar, had wowed the ski world with near-perfect runs in winning two of the three training runs.
And who won the other one? Matthias Mayer of Austria.
Then, Mayer went out Sunday and outskied Miller and everybody else in winning the gold medal with a time of 2 minutes, 6.23 seconds.
It was a welcome triumph -- and relief -- in Austria, the ski-crazy country whose men's Olympic team was shockingly shut out -- no medals at all -- at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Mayer, 23, has never won a World Cup race, and his career best in a World Cup downhill is fifth. Even though he is considered a rising star, he still continued a tradition of longshot winners in the Olympic men's downhill.
Christof Innerhofer of Italy took the silver medal, just 0.06 seconds behind Mayer. Norway's Kjetil Jansrud, who had called Miller's final training run Saturday "epic," won the bronze.
Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal, the other favorite going into the race, finished fourth, and the USA's Travis Ganong, 25, of Squaw Valley, Calif., was fifth.
As for Miller, he was expected to make history Sunday but instead made a mistake, which turned him into an also-ran on the fast, icy course at the Rosa Khutor alpine center.
Miller, starting 15th, four spots after Mayer, was ahead of Mayer's interval times on the top of the course, but he slowed in the fourth interval and couldn't make up the time at the bottom.
He finished with a time of 2 minutes, 6.75 seconds, which put him in eighth place, 0.52 seconds behind Mayer.
So Miller, 36, who was trying to become the oldest skier to win an Olympic alpine race, will have to wait and give it another try in the super-combined Thursday.
COMPLETE COVERAGE | 2014 Winter Olympics