WORLD CUP: Todd Lodwick of Steamboat Springs, Colo., had the second-fastest 10-kilometer time and Bill Demong of Vermontville, N.Y., collected the first top-10 of his World Cup career Thursday in a mass-start nordic combined event at Nayoro that opened the annual swing through Japan.
World Cup leader Felix Gottwald of Austria won by 2.2 points over Finn Samppa Lajunen.
Lodwick was right behind Norwegian Kristian Hammer in the 10K race that opened the event and, with the 14th-best jump, finished sixth with 219.7 points. Demong turned-in "the race of his life" — 25 seconds back of Hammer, according to coach Jan-Erik Aalbu, and was ninth.
NOR AM: Marco Sullivan of Tahoe City, Calif., clinched the men's Nor Am downhill title Thursday while Park City's Picabo Street made it two wins in 24 hours at Whistler Mountain.
In the second Ingle Nor Am downhill at Whistler, Wade Bishop of Winter Park, Colo, and Canadian Kevin Wert and were co-winners in the final men's DH of the season. Each had a time of 1 minute 46.51 seconds, with Canadian Jeff Durand third (1:46.70) and Sullivan — who won Wednesday's DH and two others at Lake Louise — fourth (1:47.08).
In the women's field, Street won with a time of 1:54.75 and U.S. teammate Tatum Skoglund of Bellevue, Wash., was second in 1:56.30. Rachel Roosevelt of Storrs, Conn., and Canadian Christina Risler deadlocked for third place (1:57.64).
The women's final downhills are scheduled for March 16-18 at Snowbasin.
WORLD CUP: Hermann Maier finally won on the demanding downhill course of the Lillehammer Olympics, with Daron Rahlves of the United States disqualified Friday after finishing fourth in the World Cup race.
Rahlves tried to make his bib fit tighter and tied the knots behind his neck, a rules violation.
"The bib is like a nightgown," said Florian Eckert of Germany, the runner-up to Maier.
Rahlves, the world super-G champion, finished .23 seconds behind Maier. Rahlves won consecutive downhills in Kvitfjell last year and became the first American man in any discipline to win on the World Cup since Kyle Rasmussen won in Kvitfjell in 1995.
Wearing a ski mask with the temperature at zero, Maier beat Eckert by 15 hundredths of a second for his first World Cup victory in Norway. The Austrian star was timed in 1 minute, 45.90 seconds.
Maier's previous best on Lillehammer's Olympic course was third place. The victory gave him the lead over compatriot Stephan Eberharter in the downhill standings.
Friday's race — rescheduled after last weekend's downhill was canceled because of bad weather at Snowbasin, Utah — produced one of the season's closest finishes. Only .42 seconds separated the first 10 skiers.