By David Pace
The Associated Press
SOCHI, Russia — Different American, same result for Maria Hoefl-Riesch — another Olympic gold in the super-combined.
Just as she did four years ago at the Vancouver Games, Hoefl-Riesch found herself trailing an American after the downhill leg before using her slalom skills to vault into first place and successfully defend her Olympic title in the dual-run event.
The German finished less than a second ahead of both silver medalist Nicole Hosp of Austria and Julia Mancuso of the United States, who won the bronze. Mancuso won silver in the event in Vancouver.
Lindsey Vonn had the fastest downhill time in Vancouver, but when Vonn skied out on the slalom, Hoefl-Riesch roared back to claim gold. This time, Vonn is out with an injury, and Mancuso replaced her at the top the standings after the downhill.
Also on Day 4 of the Sochi Olympics, Charles Hamelin of Canada raced to the 1,500-meter short track speedskating gold, and Viktor Ahn earned the bronze to give Russia its first-ever short track medal; Michel Mulder of the Netherlands earned the 500-meter speedskating gold; Martin Fourcade won the 12.5-kilometer biathlon pursuit; and Alex Bilodeau won his second consecutive gold medal in men’s moguls.
Short track speedskating: At 29, Hamelin was the oldest skater in the first final of the short track competition. The wily veteran maintained a top-three position throughout most of the 14-lap race, leaving enough at the end to defeat a loaded field, including Ahn and silver medalist Han Tianyu of China. Ahn was a three-time gold medalist for his native South Korea, but after missing the Vancouver Games he changed his name and became a Russian citizen. When he stepped on the medals podium, the mostly Russian crowd erupted in wild cheers.
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