- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2009

From combined dispatches

WENGEN, Switzerland | Manfred Pranger of Austria won a World Cup slalom race Sunday for his first victory in four years, while Bode Miller lost control and did not finish.

Miller, the defending overall champion, skied out in the second run of the slalom after finishing 23rd in the first. He stretched his season-long winless streak to 20 races.

Pranger led after the first run and finished the second in 52.26 seconds for a combined time of 1:40.36. Reinfried Herbst of Austria was second, 0.34 behind, and Ivica Kostelic of Croatia was third.

Jean Baptiste-Grange of France, who finished sixth, kept his lead in the World Cup slalom standings. Benjamin Raich of Austria was fifth and kept his lead in the overall standings.

Pranger won his third World Cup event. He earned two in a three-day span in January 2005 before his career was derailed by a series of injuries.

“I definitely remember how it feels to win,” Pranger said. “This great feeling is what makes you want to come back.”

He said his teammate Herbst encouraged him during recovery from a serious knee injury in 2007. Herbst, the Olympic silver medalist in slalom, also has returned from knee injuries.

“You can’t be jealous of Manni’s victory,” Herbst said. “I think he deserves it. He works very hard for what he gets.”

Vonn back on top

ZAUCHENSEE, Austria | Anja Paerson of Sweden and Dominique Gisin of Switzerland were co-winners of a World Cup downhill, while Lindsey Vonn finished third to regain the lead in the overall standings.

Paerson and Gisin finished the 1.83-mile Kaelberloch course in 1:47.52.

Vonn, the defending overall champion, overcame Maria Riesch of Germany, who had led the standings but finished seventh. Vonn has 776 points, Riesch has 765 and Paerson climbed to third with 702.

“At this point it’s not entirely important [to lead the standings], but at the same time it feels good,” said Vonn, who won the super-combi Saturday. “It’s definitely a confidence-builder.”

Vonn also tops the downhill standings after two events - she won the other race in Lake Louise in December.

Davis sets record

MOSCOW | Shani Davis of the United States set a track record to win the 1,000 meters and earn the overall title at the sprint speedskating world championships.

Wang Beixing of China won her first overall sprint title.

Davis won in 1:08.66, with Denny Morrison of Canada in second Yevgeny Lalenkov of Russia in third. Defending champion and overnight leader Lee Kyou-hyuk of South Korea fell with 100 meters left.

Schairer rallies

HOENGSEONG, South Korea | Markus Schairer of Austria rallied in the final stretch of the snowboardcross to win at the snowboard world championships, while Helene Olafsen of Norway dominated for the women’s title.

Schairer secured his first world title by nosing out 2007 champion Xavier Delerue by just a less than an inch - the closest final at a snowboard world championship. Nick Baumgartner of the United States took the bronze.

Huefner gets fifth victory

OBERHOF, Germany | Two-time world champion Tatjana Huefner of Germany won a luge race for her fifth World Cup victory of the season.

Huefner clocked the fastest times in both runs to finish in 1:26.493. She has won five of six World Cup races.

Russia wins bobsled

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland | Russia won the four-man bobsled World Cup in a tightly contested competition.

Alexsandr Zubkov earned his fifth medal of the season after a combined time of 2 minutes, 10.48 seconds on two runs with the second and fifth place teams separated by just .06 seconds.

Bjoerndalen, Neuner win

RUHPOLDING, Germany | Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway and Magdalena Neuner of Germany won World Cup biathlon events.

Bjoerndalen won the 12.5-kilometer pursuit race in 36:17.4 after missing only one of 20 targets. Neuner won the 10K in 32:56.5 despite having to complete four penalty laps.

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