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Lindsey Vonn leads big day in the snow for U.S.

She wins the World Cup downhill title for second consecutive year.

March 01, 2009|Wire Reports

Lindsey Vonn won her second straight World Cup downhill title to lead an American surge in the snow Saturday, raising early expectations for the United States at next year's Vancouver Olympics.

Ted Ligety and Bill Demong also enjoyed stellar days. Ligety won a giant slalom for the fourth victory of his career, and Demong took the gold in the Nordic combined large hill event for his first world title at Liberec, Czech Republic.

By finishing 12th in the downhill at Bansko, Bulgaria, Vonn matched Picabo Street as the only Americans to win the discipline two straight years. Street achieved the feat in 1995 and 1996.

"It felt strange to win the title then without winning the race, but sometimes that's how it goes," Vonn said.

Vonn remains on course to successfully defend her overall World Cup title, holding a 336-point lead over Germany's Maria Riesch.

Vonn ended the day 111 points clear of Dominique Gisin in the downhill standings, making it impossible for the Swiss racer to catch her.

At Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Ligety, the defending giant slalom champion, moved up from third after the first run to finish in a combined time of 2 minutes 19.92 seconds.

Debbie McCormick's squad slid and swept their way to a win in the finals of the U.S. Olympic curling trials at Broomfield, Colo., to become the first American athletes to secure spots for the Vancouver Games.

On the men's side, John Shuster's squad earned a spot at the Olympics by beating Tyler George's team.


Blatter says Premier League hoards stars

FIFA President Sepp Blatter accused England's Premier League of hoarding the world's best foreign soccer players.

Blatter has been urging a rule that would force teams to start games with at least six players eligible to play for the national team.

"When you are at a good table you like to eat more and more and more," he said. "And this is the success story of the Premier League, but they should also look on the others."


Venus Williams tops Pennetta for title

Venus Williams beat defending champion Flavia Pennetta, 6-1, 6-2, to win the Mexican Open title at Acapulco.

Williams has won four of her last five tournaments, including last year's WTA Championships, and 20 of her last 21 matches.

Novak Djokovic won his first title of the season, beating David Ferrer of Spain, 7-5, 6-3, in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships in the United Arab Emirates.

Qualifier Evgeny Korolev, ranked 105th, reached his first final with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Christophe Rochus at the Delray Beach International Championships in Florida.


Leipheimer out because of injury

Levi Leipheimer has pulled out of next month's Paris-Nice stage race because of a lower-back injury, his Astana team said.

Leipheimer suffered the injury during the Tour of California, which he won last week.

Jermain Taylor's next fight will be against Britain's Carl Froch, the World Boxing Council super-middleweight champion. The fight will be in Mashantucket, Conn., on April 25. . . . Caroline Zhang of Brea won the silver medal at the world junior figure skating championships at Sofia, Bulgaria. Russian Alena Leonova won the gold medal. . . . Oklahoma sophomore receiver Corey Wilson was critically injured in a collision on Interstate 35. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Wilson wasn't wearing his seat belt. . . . Amy Acuff, who will retire after the World Outdoor Championships in Berlin, won the women's high jump at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships for the fifth time at Boston. The four-time Olympian cleared 6 feet 2 3/4 inches. . . . Chad Reed won his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross event of the season at Indianapolis, ending James Stewart's seven-race winning streak. Stewart crashed on the second lap but finished second.

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