- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 21, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Lindsey Vonn admits she let up at the end — and it cost her.

Austria’s Andrea Fischbacher upset Vonn in the super-G at the Vancouver Olympics on Saturday. Vonn earned bronze behind surprise silver medalist Tina Maze of Slovenia.

While many of the favorites struggled with a sharp right turn midway down, Vonn made it through that section without a problem. She then lost nearly half a second on the bottom section of the course.

“Once I got past those difficult sections, I kind of backed off the gas pedal,” Vonn said. “I felt like I just didn’t ski as aggressively as I could have, and I think that’s where I lost the race.”

The Austrians, who won 14 Alpine medals including four golds in Turin, had gotten off to a slow start. Elisabeth Goergl’s bronze in the downhill had been their only medal so far. Fischbacher was reduced to tears after placing fourth in the downhill, finishing only 0.03 seconds behind Goergl.

“At first I was really sad,” Fischbacher said. “Then I was just saying, ‘OK, maybe I make it in the super-G.’”

Her coach, Juergen Kriechbaum, set the super-G course according to International Ski Federation rules that rotate the job to correspond with the higher-ranked super-G skiers. Fischbacher navigated her way down Franz’s Run in 1 minute, 20.14 seconds.

Maze was 0.49 behind, and Vonn was 0.74 back.

Vonn had already wrapped up the season-long World Cup super-G title by winning three of the five races so far; Fischbacher was third in the event standings.

Vonn won the downhill to open her Olympics, then wiped out in the slalom leg of the super-combined. On Saturday, she was denied a sweep of the speed events. Depending on how her bruised right shin holds up, the American still has two events remaining in Vancouver — giant slalom and slalom.

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SKI JUMPING

Switzerland’s Simon Ammann won the large hill to become the first ski jumper with four individual Olympic titles.

Ammann put down the best jump in both rounds. He used his disputed bindings again, beating four Austrians who weren’t happy about his equipment.

Polish veteran Adam Malysz took silver, and 20-year-old Austrian Gregor Schlierenzauer earned bronze — the exact same finish as in the normal hill jump a week ago.

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CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING

Marcus Hellner of Sweden won the men’s 30-kilometer pursuit, pulling away from three rivals after entering the ski stadium and building enough of a lead to sprint alone to the finish.

He was timed in 1 hour, 15 minutes, 11.4 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Angerer finished 2.1 seconds behind for the silver medal. Sweden’s Johan Olsson took the bronze, 2.8 back.

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CURLING

Both American teams are on winning streaks after rough starts.

The women have won two straight matches after opening 0-3. Debbie McCormick’s U.S. team beat Britain 6-5 in an extra 11th end.

The men also won in an extra end, beating Sweden 8-7. A loss would all but have eliminated the Americans from medal contention.

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FREESTYLE

The finals for women’s freestyle aerials will be missing defending champion Evelyn Leu of Switzerland.

Leu fell on her second of two jumps in the qualifying round and did not make the final 12. Alla Tsuper of Belarus won the qualifying, followed by China’s Li Nina, the 2006 silver medalist.

No American had advanced past qualifying since 1998. This time, three made it to the Wednesday’s final: Emily Cook, Lacy Schnoor and 16-year-old Ashley Caldwell.

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MEN’S HOCKEY

Romano Lemm scored 2:28 into overtime to lift Switzerland to a 5-4 victory over Norway. Tore Vikingstad’s third goal of the game had sent Norway into overtime.

Norway and Switzerland will have to win their next games to reach the quarterfinals.

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LUGER’S DEATH

Thousands of mourners flocked to the yard of Nodar Kumaritashvili’s family for a traditional funeral in Bakuriani, Georgia. Inside the two-story brick home, the body of the 21-year-old luger lay in a coffin, surrounded by Orthodox Christian icons and burning candles. A choir sang chants and a portrait of the Olympian hung on the wall. His father, David Kumaritashvili, stared at the picture.

“I wanted to throw a wedding feast for you,” he said. “Instead, we have a funeral.”

The 21-year-old luger died in a crash hours before the opening ceremony. He is to be buried in the cemetery of a tiny church in the snowy Alpine village.

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