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Switzerland's Ammann wins another jumping gold

Switzerland's Simon Ammann is the first ski jumper to win four individual Olympic titles with his victory Saturday in the large hill event.

Strapping on his disputed bindings again, Ammann flew past his main rivals, putting down the best jump in both rounds and staving off four Austrians who weren't happy about his equipment, which they had protested but had been allowed by officials.

Polish veteran Adam Malysz took silver, and Austrian 20-year-old Gregor Schlierenzauer took the bronze - the exact same finish as in the normal hill jump a week earlier.

Ammann held a commanding lead after the first round with a jaw-dropping 144-meter effort - 7 meters farther than Malysz.

3 U.S. women qualifyLed by Emily Cook, the United States placed three women in the freestyle aerials final - the first time the Americans have moved anyone past qualifying at the Olympics since 1998. Also making it for the United States were Lacy Schnoor and 16-year-old Ashley Caldwell. Defending Olympic champion Evelyn Leu of Switzerland failed to advance to the final.

Swede wins cross country

Marcus Hellner of Sweden sprinted away from his rivals near the finish line to win the men's 30-kilometer cross-country pursuit. Tobias Angerer of Germany finished 2.1 seconds behind for the silver medal, and Johan Olsson of Sweden took bronze.

Debut of skicrossThe sport of skicross makes its debut Sunday. The sport was added to the games following the overwhelming popularity of snowboardcross, which made a splash in Turin four years ago. The men race Sunday, with the women hitting Cypress Mountain on Tuesday.

Yet there is a decided difference between snowboardcross and skicross, from the age of the average competitors to the uniform. Snowboardcross is populated by mostly 20ish riders who dash down the hill in baggy snowpants and are known to drop in a funky board-grab or two to spice things up.

American Daron Rahlves, 36, is a former Alpine downhiller who has switched to skicross in order to keep competing. Six of the top 12 skicrossers are former downhillers.

After he spent a decade blistering the slopes at 90 mph in the downhill, you'd think Rahlves wouldn't be bothered by the relatively pedestrian speeds of skicross.

"I get more nervous in the start gate in skicross than Alpine skiing," he said. "Maybe it's because in downhill, it's just you and the mountain. In skicross, it's you, the mountain, a couple dozen twists and turns and three other racers determined to beat you to the finish line.

"You never know what's going to happen in front of you, and you need to be prepared for that and to adjust very quickly."

New York Sports