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Austria Soars and Slides to 3 Olympic Gold Medals


Austria has leaped into second place in the medal standings at the Turin Winter Olympics in Italy thanks to three gold medal performances. Austria's ski jumping team soared to victory off the large hill in Pragelato Monday. Finland took silver and Norway claimed bronze. The three teams were the favorites to reach the medal podium.

Earlier, reigning World Cup men's super giant slalom ski champion Benjamin Raich of Austria added his first Olympic title. Raich posted the fastest two-run combined time in Sestriere in 2:35.00. Joel Chenal of France followed for the silver medal (2:35.07) while Austrian veteran Hermann Maier made a bronze medal performance (2:35.16).

Michaela Dorfmeister added another gold medal to the Austrian total with a win in the women's super-G event. Dorfmeister earned her second gold of the Turin Olympics with a winning time of 1:32.47. Janica Kostelic of Croatia placed second (1:32.74) while Alexandra Meissnitzer of Austria placed third (1:33.06). Kostelic became the most decorated athlete in women's winter Olympic history with six career medals.

The wins lift Austria into a second place tie with the United States. Both nations have seven golds, five silver and three bronze in the official medal standings. Germany also has seven golds. But seven silvers and four bronze keep Germany at the top. Russia is fourth, also with seven golds.

Later, the women's ice hockey tournament concludes with the final between heavily favored Canada and Sweden. The United States beat Finland, 4-0, to win the bronze medal.

Russians Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov claimed the final gold medal of the day by winning the ice dancing competition. Following the free program, the Russian pair had 200.64 points, 4.58 points ahead of Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto (196.04). Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov of Ukraine took bronze (195.85).

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.