Fischbacher upsets Vonn as Ammann makes history

Vancouver: Austria`s Andrea Fischbacher
upset American speed queen Lindsay Vonn to win the women`s
Olympic super-G final as Simon Ammann become the first ski
jumper in history to win four individual golds.

After claiming the downhill title, Vonn crashed out in
the super-combined and wanted to bounce back in the super-G
but Fischbacher basked in the glory, relieving pressure on
Austria`s under-fire team by winning their first ski gold
of the Games yesterday.

Slovenia`s Tina Maze was a surprise silver medallist with
Vonn relegated to third. Fischbacher`s medal comes in the wake
of huge criticism of Austria`s ski `Wunderteam` which has
failed to shine in Vancouver after dominating at Turin four
years ago.

"In the speed disciplines we didn`t have great results.
We`ve not been leading by example, but we`ve shown that if
everything goes okay you can be the best," said Fischbacher.

"I didn`t believe it when I saw my name on top of the
leaderboard. It`s just a dream come true."

Vonn, touted before the Games as a favourite to win three
gold, insisted that winning her second medal was more than she
bargained for.

"Any medal at the Olympics is already a success, and you
have to be really proud of it," she said.

The action got underway as luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was
buried in the Georgian ski resort of Bakuriani with unanswered
questions about his death hanging heavy over the ceremony.

Grief over the 21-year-old`s tragic end during a training
accident on the eve of the opening ceremony mingled with anger
over claims that Kumaritashvili, and not the track at the
Whistler Sliding Centre, was to blame for the accident.

"What can I say? Our family is devastated. But what I do
know is that this was not caused by a mistake by Nodar," his
father David said.

Ammann conquered his nerves to claim the large hill
title, following on from the normal hill title he bagged a
week ago.

He previously pulled off the double at the 2002 Salt Lake
City Games.

"I`m speechless. What can I say? I was so nervous. It was
a nerve-wracking experience," said Ammann, who recorded jumps
of 144m and 138m to beat off Poland`s Adam Malysz and
Austria`s Gregor Schlierenzauer.

Sweden`s Marcus Hellner claimed gold in the gruelling
men`s cross-country pursuit.

Three more medals are decided Saturday, with China`s
dominant Wang Meng aiming to add the women`s 1,500m short
track speed skating title to the 500m one she already has.

Men`s short-track skater Apolo Anton Ohno can become the
most medalled American Winter Olympian in the 1,000m, but his
South Korean rivals are burning to stop him.

The 27-year-old, who grabbed silver in an incident-marred
1,500m final, is one medal away from surpassing his own and
long-track speed-skating legend Bonnie Blair`s US Winter
Olympic record of six medals.

Another American, Shani Davis, goes for a golden double
in the 1,500m speedskating final, hoping to add it to his
1,000m crown.

Meanwhile, superstar South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-Na
took to the ice for the first time after being mobbed by 300
reporters on her arrival Friday evening.

The world champion pin-up has dominated the season and is
hot favourite to become her country`s first Olympic figure
skating champion, with the short programme kicking off
competition on Tuesday.

She practised triple-triples Saturday but left the
talking to coach Brian Orser.

"Now it`s her time to focus on herself," Orser said of an
athlete ranked by Forbes as the top earning Winter Olympian
alongside snowboarder Shaun White after pocketing eight
million dollars last year.

Bureau Report