Winter sports: Ruiz Castillo stuns in World Cup downhill win
Meribel, France • Carolina Ruiz Castillo stunned the field by earning her first career World Cup victory at age 31 on Saturday, winning a downhill race 13 years after her only previous podium finish.
The Spanish skier had never placed higher than seventh in a downhill but beat Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany by 0.20 seconds and Frenchwoman Marie Marchand-Arvier by 0.21.
"The win feels even better because I know all the hard work I have done," Ruiz Castillo said.
Ruiz Castillo only had eight previous top-10 finishes on the World Cup, and the only top-three finish on the podium was second place in a giant slalom in 2000 at the Italian resort of Sestriere.
In Sochi, Russia, Olympic luge champion Tatjana Hufner edged out two other Germans to win the women's singles in the final World Cup meet of the season, a test event for the Sochi Winter Games next year.
World champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt of Germany won the men's doubles, beating compatriots Peter Penz and Georg Fischer by 0.134 seconds. Olympic silver medalists Andris Sics and Juris Sics of Latvia were third.
Mikael Kingsbury of Canada and Audrey Robichaud won World Cup mogul races in Inawashiro, Japan, on Saturday.
Kingsbury, the defending World Cup champion, scored 23.41 points to secure his sixth title this season. Bradley Wilson of the United States was second, followed by Alex Bilodeau of Canada.
After eight of 12 events, Kingsbury leads the standings with 705 points. Bilodeau follows with 513 and Patrick Deneen of the United States is third with 443.
Norwegian ski jumper Anders Bardal won his first major title on Saturday by taking gold in the normal hill event at the Nordic skiing world championships in Val Di Fiemme, Italy.
Bardal had the longest jump of the day with 103.5 meters in the first round and finished with a total of 252.6 points. Overall World Cup leader Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria was 4.2 points back in second and Peter Prevc of Slovenia was third.
Christof Innerhofer of Italy won his third World Cup downhill of the season Saturday, on a course where he has a history of good results in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Innerhofer topped three Austrians to earn his sixth career victory, covering the 1.6-mile Kandahar course in 1 minute, 37.83 seconds to beat Georg Streitberger by 0.12 seconds.
"It's like a home run for me, I have nice memories from here," Innerhofer said.
The top American finisher was Marco Sullivan at 19th in 1:38.95.
Marit Bjoergen successfully defended another title at the Nordic skiing world championships, winning the 15-kilometer pursuit skiathlon on Saturday in Val Di Fiemme, Italy.
Bjoergen sped clear of Therese Johaug coming into the stadium to cross the line in 39 minutes, 4.4 seconds. Johaug was 3.4 seconds back to take silver, while Heidi Weng beat Kristin Stoermer Steira in a sprint for the bronze medal.