Reiter Wins Gold in Men's Combined
By Rob Gloster
Friday, February 13, 1998; 2:35 a.m. EST
Reiter, who held a lead of 1.81 seconds over Kjus after the two slalom runs in the combined event, lost much of that margin by having just the fifth-fastest time in the combined downhill but held on for the title.
Reiter's aggregate time for the three runs was 3 minutes, 08.06 seconds. Kjus, a silver winner in the downhill earlier Friday and winner of the combined event at the 1994 games, was second in 3:08.65. Austria's Christian Mayer won bronze in 3:10.11.
Andrzej Bachleda of Poland, a music student at the University of Denver, was third after the combined slalom, but slipped to fifth overall after the combined downhill.
Reiter, who has been sidelined for much of the World Cup season by a severe groin strain, kicked off his skis and threw them into the air after crossing the finish line.
"I had no tactics. I just went for it,'' Reiter said. "I was always sure to win, but I had to push very hard in the downhill, which is not my specialty.''
Kjus won his two medals about 3 1/2 hours apart.
The rare doubleheader was forced by weather that has jumbled the Alpine schedule. The start of the combined downhill was pushed back 45 minutes because the downhill was delayed by wind and injuries Friday morning (Thursday night EST).
Conditions were nearly perfect for the combined downhill, though, with sunshine and a cloudless sky. There was hardly any wind, in sharp contrast to the gusts that tormented the downhill hours earlier.
Hermann Maier, who has dominated the World Cup circuit this season, dropped out of the combined event after being injured on a spectacular crash in the downhill. He was in seventh place after the two slalom runs in the combined event, and would have been a medal contender.
Kjetil Andre Aamodt of Norway, silver medalist in the combined event at the 1994 Games, was in fifth place following the slalom portion, but crashed off the course near the bottom of the combined downhill.
None of the three Americans who started the combined event made it through the two slalom runs on Tuesday.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
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