Riesch outshines Vonn, Norway claim 100th gold

Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:53pm EST
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By Julian Linden

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Germany's Maria Riesch snatched the women's super combined crown on Thursday after American Lindsey Vonn lost control and blew her chances of a second gold in as many days at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Riesch was all smiles as she claimed her first Olympic medal at Whistler mountain while her best friend Vonn was left thumping her fist into the snow after crashing on the concluding slalom leg.

Norwegian biathlete Tora Berger secured her country's 100th Winter Olympic gold, the first nation to reach that landmark, as the Vancouver and Whistler venues basked in a second straight day of crisp sunshine.

Vonn, who won the downhill on Wednesday, had been ahead after the first downhill run and was on course to at least finish on the podium in the combined when she clipped a gate and lost her balance within sight of the finish line.

Vonn's American team mate Julia Mancuso stayed on her skis to finish second to add another silver to her second place in the individual downhill while Sweden's Anja Paerson took the bronze after surviving a high-speed crash the previous day.

Norway became the first nation to reach the magical 100th gold milestone in winter sports when the 28-year-old Berger surged clear of her rivals to win the lung-bursting 15km individual biathlon pursuit, which combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting.

Berger completed the course in 40 minutes 52.8 seconds, more than 20 seconds clear of Kazakhstan's Elena Khrustaleva, who took the silver medal, and Darya Domracheva of Belarus, who had to settle for the bronze.

Berger's success provided Norway with their second gold medal in Vancouver after Marit Bjoergen won the women's cross-country sprint classic on Wednesday, lifting the Scandinavian powerhouse to sixth place on the medals table at the start of the sixth full day of competition.   Continued...

<p>Germany's Maria Riesch skis during the Slalom run of the women's Alpine Skiing Super Combined event at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler, British Columbia, February 18, 2010. Riesch won the Olympic gold medal in the women's Alpine skiing super combined at the Winter Games on Thursday. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay</p>