=== Raich leads Austrian medal sweep in slalom ===
Sestriere, Italy (Sports Network) - Benjamin Raich won gold to lead an Austrian
sweep of the men's slalom medals Saturday, a sloppy day on the slopes.
On a course which had dispatched several of the top competitors earlier in the
afternoon, Raich posted the best time in both runs to win his second gold of
the Torino Olympics.
He finished with a total time of one minute, 43.14 seconds -- 0.83 seconds
better than teammate Reinfried Herbst, who won silver. Austrian Rainer
Schoenfelder won the bronze medal, more than a second slower than Raich.
"I think it's the perfect moment for all the Austrian team," said Raich. "I
can't believe it."
Just having three Austrians finish the two runs was an accomplishment.
Only 62 of the 97 skiers entered in the event survived the first run. Among
those who did not finish were Italian favorite Giorgio Rocca and Americans Bode
Miller and Ted Ligety.
Rocca, first out of the gate, fell when he crossed his skis midway through the
run. He had skipped the super-G and giant slalom events here to train
exclusively for this event.
"I knew that the course changed in that portion of the race," explained Rocca.
"It's my fault. I knew that the snow was faster, but I was wrong. I tried to go
Miller, of course, was expected to win multiple medals at these Games. But
after missing a gate early in his run, he will leave Italy an unthinkable 0-
Miller didn't finish three of his events.
In the first run, Ligety didn't fall. He crossed the finish line just 0.01
behind Raich's time, but was disqualified soon after when replays showed him
missing a gate.
"That's how it goes sometimes," said Ligety. "I skied over part of the gate. I
knew I had a good chance and of course I'm disappointed."
In an ironic twist, it was Raich who missed a gate during the final run of the
combined event last week that allowed Ligety to win the gold medal.
On Saturday, Raich left little doubt, though, that he deserved to win.
Already a gold medal winner in the giant slalom on Monday, Raich skied to times
of 53.37 seconds and 49.77 seconds in his two runs. He looked smooth and
confident, and took enough risks to be the best.
"It's unbelievable for me to win two medals here," Raich said.
Japan's Kentaro Minagawa finished tied for fourth place with Andre Myhrer of
Sweden. Croatia's Ivica Kostelic was sixth.
Finland's Kalle Palander, who entered the second run ranked second, crossed the
finish line in first place. But like Ligety earlier in the day, replays showed
he straddled a gate.
Jimmy Cochran was the highest American finisher in 12th place. Thomas Grandi of
Canada, fifth after the first run, ended in ninth place.
02/25 14:08:52 ET