Germans dominate final day at luge championships
WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) -- Germany's Natalie Geisenberger won her first luge world championship title, finishing with a combined time of 1 minute, 13.428 seconds on Saturday to edge teammate Tatjana Huefner.
Geisenberger settled for Olympic bronze here three years ago as Huefner won the gold medal. But after picking up five victories and two silver medals in seven World Cup starts this year, Geisenberger was on a mission that culminated with this title.
She recorded the two fastest runs down a course that has become much tamer than the one faced by many of these athletes in 2010. She clocked in at 36.688 and 36.740 seconds.
Huefner, the Olympic and two-time defending world champ, finished in 1:13.534.
Canadian Alex Gough earned a bronze with a two-run, combined time of one minute 13.546 seconds.
The United States was led by 2009 world champion Erin Hamlin, of Remsen, N.Y.
She finished sixth in 1:13.856. Julia Clukey, of Augusta, Maine, the 2012 Norton U.S. National Champion, placed ninth in 1:13.984. Kate Hansen, 2008 World Junior Champion from La Canada, Calif., took 14th in 1:14.092. Recently crowned 2013 World Junior Champion, Emily Sweeney, of Suffield, Conn. missed the top 20 cut and wound up 22nd based on her first heat time.
Germany returned later in the evening to top off the event in western Canada by taking gold in the team relay. Their stacked team consisted of world champions crowned these past two days: Geisenberger, Felix Loch in men's singles and the doubles team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt.
Their time of 2:03.826 topped Canada's 2:04.272. Latvia was the bronze medalist in 2:04.854.
The U.S. was fifth, but only 0.012 behind Latvia. Hamlin, Chris Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y. who was a career best sixth in singles Friday night, and the doubles sled of Matt Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y. and Preston Griffall, of Salt Lake City, Utah totaled 2:04.866.
The German victory gave the nation eight of the available 12 medals, including a gold medal sweep of the four events. Canada had a silver medal and a bronze medal, while Austria and Latvia took one bronze medal each.
SAPPORO, Japan (AP) -- France's Coline Mattel won her second women's World Cup ski jump event of the season on Saturday, upstaging local favorite and overall leader Sara Takanashi of Japan.
Mattel landed a jump of 93 meters for 120.2 points on her first attempt before the second round of jumps was cancelled due to high winds. Austria's Jacqueline Seifriedsberger had a jump of 94.5 meters but was deducted style points to finish second with 111.9 points while Anette Sagen of Norway was third with 111.4 points after a jump of 87.5 meters.
Takanashi, who has won four World Cup events this season, finished a disappointing 13th after a jump of 85 meters for 99.1 points.
Defending overall World Cup champion Sarah Hendrickson of the United States finished seventh.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Two-time Olympic champion Charles Hamelin won the 500-meter race at the short-track speedskating World Cup on Saturday.
The Canadian claimed his second victory of the season in 41.092 seconds at the Iceberg arena, which will host the short-track and figure skating events at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Wu Daijing of China was second in 41.095, while Vladimir Grigorev of Russia was third.
Noh Jinkyu led a South Korean sweep of the podium in the 1,500, clocking 2:17.482 for his fourth win of the season. Kim Yun-Jae was second and Kwak Yoon-Gy was third
Four-time Olympic champion Wang Meng of China won the women's 500 in 43.231 ahead of Ariana Fontana of Italy and Liu Qiuhong of China.
Shim Suk-hee of South Korea claimed 1,500 for her fifth victory of the season with a time of 2:26.338. Li Jianrou of China was second ahead of Elise Christie of Britain.
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) -- Alexander Tretiakov of Russia held off two-time defending champion Martins Dukurs to win his first skeleton world championship title on Saturday.
Tretiakov led by nearly half a second on Dukurs going into the fourth and final run. He held off his Latvian rival to win by 0.03 seconds. Dukurs clocked the fastest run of the competition in his final run down the Olympia track.
Bronze medalist Sergei Chudinov of Russia was 2.27 behind Tretiakov's combined time of 4 minutes, 32.35 seconds.
John Daly of the United States placed in a tie for fifth, 2.84 behind Tretiakov.
GRASGEHREN, Germany (AP) -- Poor weather conditions forced the cancellation of Saturday's freestyle World Cup ski cross event.
FIS Freestyle says "heavy rain through the night turned to heavy snow early in the morning, making conditions impossible for racing."
Friday's training and qualification sessions were also cancelled due to the weather.
Organizers still hope Sunday's event can go ahead.
Fanny Smith of Switzerland leads the women's standings with 396 points, 95 ahead of Kelsey Serwa of Canada on 301, with Ophelie David of France third on 271.
Another Swiss, Alex Fiva, leads the men's competition with 384 points, followed by compatriot Armin Niederer on 373 and Canadian Brady Leman with 248.
HARRACHOV, Czech Republic (AP) -- A ski jumping World Cup event in the Czech Republic has been postponed due to high winds.
Organizers say the event scheduled for Saturday on a flying hill will take place on Sunday morning, along with another scheduled World Cup event, weather permitting.