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THE INSIDE TRACK | NEWSWIRE

Austrians Return to Form With 1-2 Finish in Slalom

January 26, 1998| From Staff and Wire Reports

The powerful Austrian men's ski team returned to its dominating form Sunday as Olympic champion Thomas Stangassinger and Thomas Sykora finished 1-2 in a World Cup slalom at Kitzbuehel, Austria.

"It was an extremely close race, but I am overjoyed," Stangassinger said after posting a combined time of 1 minute 44.27 seconds, only .08 seconds ahead of Sykora.

In sweeping the first two places, the Austrians made amends for not placing better than sixth in Friday's downhill and not finishing higher than third in Saturday's downhill.

Ole Christian Furuseth of Norway was third at 1:44.42.

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Martina Ertl recorded a combined time of 2:37.45 to beat teammate Katja Seizinger by 1.55 seconds in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy, and win her record seventh World Cup giant slalom.

She eclipsed the German national record of of six, set by Irene Epple.

Meanwhile, Italy's Deborah Compagnoni, the Olympic and world giant slalom champion, could finish only fifth. Compagnoni, however, remained atop the World Cup giant slalom standings with 505 points to Ertl's 411.

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Canada's Catrioa LeMay-Doan and Dutchman Jan Bos won world titles in Berlin at the World Speedskating Championships, the final event before the Olympics.

LeMay-Doan won the 500-meter race in 38.65 seconds, enhancing her position as the Nagano favorite. Compatriot Susan Auch was second at 39.00.

Bos blazed to a world championship record time of 1 minute 11.10 seconds in the 1,000 meters.

The favorite in both distances, World Cup leader Jeremy Wotherspoon of Canada, won the 500 in 35.99.

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Mark Grimmette and Brian Martin bolstered their hopes of becoming the first Americans to earn an Olympic luge medal by winning the World Cup doubles title in a total time of 1:22.545 at Winterberg, Germany.

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Olympic organizers revoked the credentials of Sankei, a 1.9-million circulation Japanese newspaper, denying it the right to cover the Nagano Olympics for publishing unauthorized photos and stories of an opening ceremony dress rehearsal.

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At Whistler, Canada, Americans Eric Bergoust and Nikki Stone warmed up for the Olympics by landing tricky jumps in heavy snow to win World Cup aerial meets.

Women's Basketball

Valerie Still scored 24 points as the Columbus Quest (27-7) routed the visiting San Jose Lasers (18-18), 95-70, before 3,811 and won their eighth consecutive ABL game.

Track and Field

Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie broke his world indoor record in the 3,000 meters by more than four seconds in Karlsruhe, Germany. Gebrselassie was timed in 7 minutes, 26.14 seconds. He had set the previous record of 7:30.72 at Stuttgart, Germany, on Feb. 4, 1996.

Sergei Bubka beat a group of top pole vaulters with a height of 19 feet, one-half inch in the Pole Vault Stars, a competition he organized in his hometown of Donetsk, Ukraine, but failed in three attempts to break the world record of 20-2 he set five years ago.

Miscellany

Lee Thomas, fired recently as general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, is expected to be named assistant general manager of the Boston Red Sox, it was learned Sunday. An announcement could come as soon as today.

Thomas, a productive outfielder during the early years of the Angels, will assist General Manager Dan Duquette in talent evaluation, trade negotiations and media relations.

Former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch, 37, announced his retirement from tour golf, ending more than five years of despair and an endless series of missed cuts. "I will now play golf only with my friends and concentrate on my business interests," Baker-Finch said in Brisbane, Australia.

Thiago Bezerra of Brazil remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Orlando Regional Medical Center after sustaining head injuries in a crash during Saturday's US F2000 National Championship race at Walt Disney World Speedway.

Doug Blosser, the Kansas City Royals' third-round pick in the 1995 amateur draft, died in a one-car accident in Sarasota, Fla., that also killed his close friend, Todd Sigler, and injured two young women.

Wilhelm Gidaduday of Riverside and Shelley Smathers of Olympia, Wash., were the winners of the Super Bowl 10K in Redondo Beach that featured more than 11,000 participants.

Gidaduday covered the 6.2-mile course in 29 minutes, 29 seconds. Smathers won the women's division in 33:53.

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