Sven Hannawald of Germany has won the ski jumping event at Bischofshofen, Austria, to become the first skier ever to win all four of the prestigious Four Hills series events. The 27-year-old Hannawald improved on his own hill record with a first jump of 139 meters. He followed up with a leap of 131.5 meters for a total of 282.9 points. Matti Hautamaeki of Finland finished second, followed by Martin Hoellwarth of Austria in third place.
Hannawald had already won the first three events of the series at Innsbruck, Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberstdorf. He is the fourth German to win the prestigious series, but the first man ever to complete the sweep in the 50-year history of the classic ski-jumping series.
Hannawald collected almost $27,000 dollars for winning each of the hills plus a bonus of $45,000 dollars for winning all four. He also won a car for capturing the overall title.
World slalom champion Anja Paerson of Sweden has skied a sizzling second run to capture her fourth straight title at a World Cup slalom event in Maribor, Slovenia. The 20-year-old was second after Sunday's first leg, before attacking the gates on her second time down the hill to win the event with an aggregate time of one minute and 41.14 seconds. First-run winner Laure Pequegnot of France took second place, .8 of a second back, while Sonja Nef of Switzerland was third.
Paerson also won the slalom event on Saturday. She has now extended her lead in the slalom standings and climbed to the top of the overall World Cup standings with a comfortable 88-point cushion over Nef.
The World Cup series continues with two downhills, a slalom and a combined event in Salbaach, Austria, January 11 to 13.
Austrian skiing star Hermann Maier will undergo an examination later this week that should determine whether he is ready to start training again after a career-threatening motorcycle accident.
But even if the 29-year-old Olympic champion is cleared to begin race training, Maier spokesman Knut Okresek says it is doubtful whether he will be able to compete at next month's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Okresek calls it a "race against time," while Maier's physician, Arthur Trost says he is skeptical and that aiming for the Olympics is "unrealistic."
After skiing downhill for the first time since the accident on December 21, Maier also said he was not ready to compete in February's Winter Olympics. Meanwhile, the president of the Austrian Ski Federation said Maier would have to finish a World Cup race before the Olympics in order to be allowed to compete in Salt Lake City.