Winter sports: Lund Svindal wins super-G for 20th career World cup win; Park City's Ted Ligety takes sixth
Kitzbuehel, Austria • Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway became the first skier in nine years to win three World Cup super-G races in a season. Austrian standout Hermann Maier was the last to do it in 2003-04.
Svindal's 20th career World Cup victory and first in Kitzbuehel left him one shy of the all-time Norwegian record by Kjetil Andre Aamodt.
In light snowfall and fog Friday, Svindal used a strong finish to win in 1 minute, 14.68 seconds on the Streifalm course. Matthias Mayer of Austria was 0.13 behind in second and world super-G champion Christof Innerhofer of Italy took third.
"I've been leading before in Kitzbuehel but always lost the race," Svindal said. "For me the last guy was Max Franz, I thought he could take me. He started 30th, so I felt my heart beating until I saw his split times."
Teammate Kjetil Jansrud led Svindal on his run until he lost speed coming out of a sharp turn before the finish section and finished 0.64 back in fourth.
Ted Ligety of Park City had a similar mistake to Jansrud and came 0.83 back in sixth for his best career result in Kitzbuehel.
Ligety was third in the overall standings, trailing Hirscher by 199 points.
Svindal extended his lead in the discipline standings to 171 points over Matteo Marsaglia of Italy, and he closed the gap to overall leader Marcel Hirscher to 88 points. The Austrian skipped the race.
It's ideal preparation for the world championships in Schladming, where the super-G takes will be held in 12 days.
With Saturday's downhill in Kitzbuehel, followed by the super-G and a downhill in Schladming, Svindal knows this is the time of the season to peak.
Omaha, Neb. • A solid effort by Jeremy Abbott looked downright spectacular after the splatfest the rest of the U.S. men put on.
With just about everyone else stumbling, bumbling or worse, Abbott's clean but conservative short program was more than enough to give him the lead at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Friday night. The three-time champion finished with 84.10 points, three points ahead of Ross Miner. Joshua Farris, the silver medalist at last year's junior world championships, was third. The free skate is Sunday.
"I've been saying that I came into this championship really bearing the weight of being the current champion, so I really feel like I had a huge target on my back," Abbott said. "It's funny I have this spy-theme program because everybody is gunning for me, and I'm going to take them down one by one."
Actually, they don't need any help. Aside from Miner, they all pretty much took themselves out.