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2010 Winter Olympics: German skier takes giant slalom championship

Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg reacts during the flower ceremony for Women's giant slalom after she surprisingly won a gold medal in the event.
Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg reacts during the flower ceremony for Women's giant slalom after she surprisingly won a gold medal in the event.
Gero Breloer, Associated Press

WHISTLER, British Columbia — Unheralded Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany beat the fog down the mountain and took a surprise victory in the Olympic giant slalom Thursday.

Rebensburg, who had never won a major race, clocked a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 27.11 seconds down Franz's GS, and it held up when the first-run leaders were slowed by fog that got worse after her run.

Tina Maze of Slovenia was second, 0.12 second behind, matching her result in super-G, and first-run leader Elisabeth Goergl of Austria added another bronze, 0.49 back, duplicating her downhill finish.

The 20-year-old Rebensburg stood only sixth after the opening leg.

"Unbelievable! Unbelievable! Unbelievable!" Rebensburg said, adding that it helped having super-combined winner Maria Riesch and giant slalom world champion Kathrin Hoelzl on her team. "I had not that much pressure."

Hoelzl finished sixth and Riesch was 10th."She should experience this moment right now in the moment, because it all goes by like a film and tonight she will shake her head and wonder what happened," Riesch said.

Defending champion Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley, Calif., who was 18th after the first run, had the third-fastest time of the second leg and finished eighth.

The first run was completed Wednesday, but dense fog forced organizers to postpone the second leg for a day.

CURLING: The Norwegian men — and their popular, gaudy, diamond-print trousers — will meet Canada in the gold-medal final after beating Switzerland. Canada is attempting to become the first Olympic curling team to go unbeaten at the games since the sport returned as a medal event in 1998. It earned its own spot in the final by beating Sweden.

In the women's final, it'll be Sweden vs. Canada.

The defending gold medalists from Sweden KO'd the reigning world champion Chinese in one semifinal, and the hosts took out Switzerland on a late shot.

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Marit Bjoergen joined the growing trend of skiers pausing on the way to the finish to grab a flag. Like the others who did it, she was well ahead.

Norway won its first women's relay gold since 1984, having settled for silver five times.

Bjoergen also won the individual sprint and 15K pursuit, and took bronze in the 10K freestyle.

The Americans were 12th.

LUGER'S LEGACY: IOC president Jacques Rogge says the death of a Georgian luger will forever be associated with the Vancouver Games, just as the slaying of Israeli athletes remains a legacy of the Munich Olympics.

Rogge said the IOC accepted a "moral responsibility" for the tragedy but not legal responsibility.

"There will always be risk in sport, but it has to be reasonable and the athletes take a lot of risk themselves," he said.

He also expects Russian organizers to make sure the sliding track is safe for the 2014 Sochi Games.

"The IOC has been very clear in saying to the Russians: Please deliver us a track that will not be hazardous," Rogge said.