KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — It was a long, painful and twisting path that Jan Hudec followed from communist Czechoslovakia to become the Canadian ski team's first Olympic medalist in 20 years.
By sharing bronze in super-G with Bode Miller on Sunday, Hudec now has the perfect ending for that autobiography he's been planning to write.
"This will definitely make the book more interesting," said Hudec, who finished 0.53 seconds behind gold medalist Kjetil Jansrud of Norway. "It's nothing short of a miracle to be here and perform at this level. I can't be thankful enough and at the same time I know there's gas in the tank for gold. Hopefully it's not the last time you see me."
The 32-year-old Hudec seriously injured his back a month before the Sochi Games and at one point wondered whether he even would be able to compete here.
Adding the back injury to the chronic pain in his legs following six surgeries on his right knee and another on his left, Hudec spends most of his time away from the hill these days getting treated by physical therapists.
"I felt like a prima donna a little bit but they got me ready for the race and here we are," said Hudec, who also won a silver in downhill at the 2007 world championships.
While Canadians John Kucera and Erik Guay won gold in downhill at the 2009 and 2011 world championships, respectively, no Canadian man or woman had won an Alpine medal at the Olympics since Ed Podivinsky took bronze in downhill at the 1994 Lillehammer Games.
The Olympic drought was especially painful four years ago on home snow at the Vancouver Games.