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Skiing News - 2001-12-30


Swedish skier Anja Paerson has catapulted into second place in the overall World Cup standings by winning a World Cup women's slalom race in Lienz, Austria.

Paerson, who started the day sixth in the World Cup standings, won the race (1:24.74) by five-100ths of one second over Kristina Koznick of the United States and Monika Bergmann of Germany, who tied for second.

The 20-year-old Paerson has 369 points in the overall standings, second only to Austrian Michaela Dorfmeister who has 448 points. Paerson leads the slalom discipline standings with 200 points.

Meanwhile, Austria has swept the top four places in a men's World Cup downhill ski event, taking all three medals for the second straight day on the same course in Bormio, Italy.

Saturday's downhill was won by Fritz Strobl (1:55.00), with Josef Strobl less than two-tenths-of-a-second behind. The two are not related. World Cup leader Stephan Eberharter finished third, nearly seven-tenths-of-a-second off the pace. Just out of the medals was Austrian newcomer Klaus Kroell.

The 29-year-old Strobl's victory was the sixth of his career, and first of the season.

The Austrians are making themselves the team to beat in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City (Utah).

In other skiiing news, Reigning World Cup Nordic combined champion Felix Gottwald of Austria has won a men's seven-point-five kilometer sprint event and a combined event in Oberwiesenthal, Germany.

Gottwald was in sixth place after the ski jumping phase, but finished the cross-country skiing in 21 minutes, 25.2 seconds, 13.4 seconds ahead of German Ronny Ackermann. Mario Stecher of Austria finished third, 22.5 seconds off the leader.

Ackermann leads the overall World Cup standings with 970 points with Gottwald second, 35 points back. Samppa Lajunen of Finland is in third place overall with 720 points. American Todd Lodwick is fourth in the overall standings, but is more than 300 points behind Ackermann.

In Salzburg, Austria, Norway's cross-country skiing team has continued its dominance of the World Cup circuit, taking men's and women's one-point-five kilometer sprint races in Salzburg, Austria.

Norwegian Haavard Bjerkeli took the men's title followed by countrymen Trond Einar Elden, Tor Arne Hetland and Morten Broers. Per Elofsson of Sweden leads the overall World Cup standings with 449 points after 10 events. Christian Zorzi of Italy is second (275) with Hetland of Norway third (250).

Meanwhile in the women's sprint event, Anita Moen of Norway beat overall World Cup standings leader Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic with Maj Helen Sorkmo of Norway third. Neumannova remains the overall World Cup leader with 430 points from 10 events. Bente Skari of Norway is in second place with Estonia's Kristina Smigun third.

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