U.S. gets most golds at ski worlds

By Andrew Dampf

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Feb. 17 2013 11:40 p.m. MST

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, poses with the gold medal she won in the women's slalom, at the Alpine Skiing World Championships, in Schladming, Austria, Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013.

Associated Press

SCHLADMING, Austria — Julia Mancuso got the ball rolling with an almost forgotten bronze medal on the same day Lindsey Vonn had a season-ending crash.

Ted Ligety followed with three golds to earn the title from local media of "Der Koenig von Schladming" — "The King of Schladming."

And 17-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin capped a historic world championships for the U.S. Ski Team by fighting off a serious case of nerves to win the slalom title.

In the end, even without Vonn and Bode Miller — who is sitting out this season to recover from left knee surgery — the U.S. had the most golds at worlds — the first non-European nation to achieve the feat.

"It's been incredible — hot and cold," U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml said Sunday. "The rest of our team is stepping up so big."

The showing was even more impressive considering the scene, with huge crowds in this ski-crazy nation averaging 30,000 fans, and nearly all of them pulling for Austrian skiers.

While the Austrians led in total medals with eight, the U.S. topped the International Ski Federation's table with four golds. Austria and France were next with two golds each.

"It's nice being in Austria and beating up on the Austrians on their home turf," said Ligety, who won in super-G, super-combined and giant slalom. "They always dominate the sport and they always kind of seem like they should be dominating the sport so it makes it all the more satisfying to beat them."

But Peter Schroecksnadel, the powerful president of the Austrian ski federation, didn't see it as a loss.

"In the U.S., they don't count golds, they count the overall number of medals," Schroecksnadel said. "So there we are No. 1."

Riml, who is Austrian, wasn't surprised by Schroecksnadel's comments.

WOMEN'S SKI JUMPING: At Ljubno Slovenia, Japanese teenager Sara Takanashi earned her second victory in two days at a women's ski jump World Cup meet in Ljubno, dominating a normal hill event on Sunday.

The 16-year-old Takanashi had the longest jumps in both rounds, clearing 97 and 100 yards to win with 266.9 points. Coline Mattel of France was a distant second with 243.3 points, ahead of American and Park City's Sarah Hendrickson at 241.8.

Takanashi extended her already large lead in the overall World Cup standings. She has 1,137 points, with Hendrickson second at 847. Mattel is third with 733.

SNOWBOARDING: At Sochi, Russia, Alessandro Haemmerle and Michela Moioli claimed their first major victories by winning snowboard cross World Cup events on Sunday.

Haemmerle, who led the final heat from the start, was followed by American Alex Deibolds and fellow Austrian Markus Schairer.

Moioli of Italy was a surprise winner in the women's event when most of the World Cup leaders were eliminated in early rounds when they failed to finish in a heavy falling snow on a long and tough course. Nelly Moenne Loccoz of France finished second and was followed by Helene Olafsen of Norway.

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