=== 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
 faster."
 
 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-
 for-5.
 
 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

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