This medal mattered to Bode Miller.
Not so much because, at age 36, his bronze in Sunday's super-G — behind winner Kjetil Jansrud and surprise runner-up Andrew Weibrecht — makes Miller the oldest Alpine medalist in Olympic history.
Or even because he now owns six medals in all, the second-highest total for a male ski racer and tied for second among U.S. Winter Olympians in any sport.
The guy who for years and years insisted results don't mean much to him declared he actually did care about this one. The past year has been a difficult one for Miller: the death of his younger brother, Chelone, in April 2013; the court fight over custody of his infant son; the work it took to come back from left knee surgery and return to the Alpine apex.
“It's almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths,” Miller said. “Some days ... medals don't matter, and today was one of the ones where it does.”
He wiped away tears in the finish area after someone mentioned Chelone, a charismatic snowboarder who was 29 and hoping to make the U.S. team in Sochi when he died of what was believed to be a seizure.
“Everything felt pretty raw and pretty connected,” Miller said. “So it was a lot for me.”