Winter sports: Austria's Marcel Hirscher wins night slalom
Madonna di Capiglio, Italy • Defending overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria was fastest in both runs Tuesday, winning a night slalom marred by the death of a gatekeeper.
Hirscher moved past American rival Ted Ligety into second place in the overall standings. Ligety, of Park City, finished ninth.
Under the lights, with thousands of fans lining the course, Hirscher skied the two runs in 1 minute, 42.50 seconds. He was followed by Felix Neureuther of Germany and Naoki Yuasa of Japan.
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, who does not excel in slalom and did not race, still leads the overall with 614 points.
A 70-year-old gatekeeper positioned midway down the course fell ill during the event and died. Gatekeepers make sure racers go around each gate correctly.
Meantime, Ligety had a message for anyone who's heard or read that his European rivals were questioning the legality of his skis because of his dominance in giant slalom this season.
"I've talked to all those guys, and they were just saying that stuff in jest," Ligety told USA TODAY. "Some stuff got taken out of context. â¦ They don't really think there's something wrong with my skis."
• Lindsey Vonn doesn't plan to do any serious training on skis during her midseason break from the World Cup. Rainer Salzgeber, racing director of Vonn's equipment supplier Head, said Tuesday that the four-time overall winner hasn't asked for her ski technician Heinz Haemmerle to follow her to the United States.
Vonn, sitting fourth in the women's overall standings, announced on Monday that she needs a break because she has yet to fully recover from an intestinal illness that landed her in a hospital last month. Salzgeber said Vonn likely won't return until races in St. Anton, Austria, on Jan. 12-13.
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