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Wednesday, Feb. 13th, Day 3

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Men's Downhill Combined

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Today we headed north to Snow Basin, near Ogden, site of the Men's Downhill Combined.  The combined is a two-part event - one run on a downhill course (no gates) and two runs down a slalom course.  Usually this is a two day event.  This is the first Olympics where all three runs were done in one day.

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We again drove to the Park and Ride lot, proceeded through security and boarded a bus for the ride up the mountain.  The Park and Ride lot is at the base of a canyon where the wind funnels through.  The wind stung and penetrated all our layers of clothing.  This was not an encouraging way to start the day.  Luckily, when we reached Snow Basin, it was like a different day - sunny and no wind.

From our bleacher seats, we had a great view of both slopes.

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It was a great day.  Whenever a USA skier was up, the crowd roared before he even left the starting house.  We were not able to see the upper part of the slope which was on the back side of the mountain, so we watched that part live on a huge video screen.  As soon as the skier appeared at the top of the hill in our view, a roar again went up from the crowd.  The crowd cheered and clapped for all the skiers as they crossed the finish line.  After all, just to get down the mountain is quite an accomplishment.  It was estimated that the skiers were going 90 miles/hour as they crossed the finish line!  Amazing ...

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The lines for food ... ... and the bathrooms

There was a 2 hour break between the downhill and slalom events.  Unfortunately, with 20,000 people there, lines were extremely long.  Some people waited 1 1/2 hours in the lines at the refreshment stands.  A halftime show was presented and live action from other Olympic venues was presented on the giant video screen.  We just stayed in the stands and enjoyed the warm sun.

The slalom course was quite difficult for the skiers and many missed a gate or fell.  The crowed always cheered for them, just to let them know that their effort was appreciated.

It was a thrill to see Brody Miller, USA, ski and eventually win the Silver Medal.  It was also amazing to watch the great skiers whose names we've heard before, blast down the mountain.

At the end of the event, the medal winners were announced, stood on a platform, and were presented flowers while the Olympic hymn was played.  They were recognized later that night at the official medals ceremony in downtown Salt Lake City.