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Breakthrough for German Rebensburg in giant slalom

WHISTLER, British Columbia - Victory was only a matter of time for Viktoria Rebensburg. Breaking through at the Olympics, however, exceeded even her own expectations.

Rebensburg beat the fog down the mountain and took a surprise win in the Olympic giant slalom yesterday, less than a year after she swept gold medals in super-G and giant slalom at the junior world championships.

The 20-year-old German had never won a senior-level race before. "It's the highest thing I could ever achieve. Crazy!" said Rebensburg, who stood sixth after the opening leg, and clocked a two-run time of 2:27.11 seconds. The time held up when the first-run leaders were slowed by fog that got worse after Rebensburg's run.

Tina Maze of Slovenia was second, 0.04 second behind, matching her silver in super-G, and first-run leader Elisabeth Goergl of Austria added another bronze, duplicating her downhill finish.

The prerace clamor within the German team centered on Maria Riesch, who won gold in super-combined, and Kathrin Hoelzl, who won the giant slalom at last season's worlds. German coaches had been critical of Rebensburg, saying she doesn't risk enough.

Not so Thursday. "If you don't take a risk," she said, "you're not going to win anything." - AP

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