Defending World Cup moguls champion Ann Battelle of Steamboat Springs, Colo., won her first World Cup event of the season yesterday, using a nearly flawless run to overtake four other skiers and win by two-hundredths of a point in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Janne Lahtela, the men's current World Cup champion and points leader, led a 1-2-3 sweep by Finnish men. Lahtela and Battelle also won the moguls gold medal at the 1999 world championships.
"Finally, huh? I skied well, even if I say so," Battelle said after receiving 25.86 points and leading two teammates into the top 10. Jillian Vogtli of Telluride, Colo., was fifth and local favorite Shannon Bahrke was ninth.
"I don't think I had any mistakes," said Battelle, who had been fifth in the qualifying round.
"Great show for Ann," U.S. Coach Don St. Pierre said. "She came out focused and had a superb run. It gave all of us a boost."
Marja Elfman of Sweden took second place with 25.84 and Norwegian Kari Traa was third with 25.68. Battelle moved into second behind Traa after four events.
The top American man was Alex Wilson of Buffalo, in fifth.
MEN'S DOWNHILL: Austrian Fritz Strobl overcame a driving snowstorm to win for the second time in his World Cup career on the treacherous Streif course in Kitzbuehel, Austria.
Strobl, who smashed the record as the fastest man down the Streif when he won in 1997, covered the course in 1 minute 46.54 seconds.
"I was not happy with my run," Strobl said after posting his fourth career World Cup victory. "But I was happy with the result."
Hermann Maier, who was looking to equal Franz Klammer for the most World Cup wins by an Austrian man, was fourth in 1:47.49.
WOMEN'S ALPINE SKIING: A year after she burst on to the scene with back-to-back wins, Regine Cavagnoud of France stunned her rivals by coming back from a major knee injury to win a World Cup downhill in Cortina D'Ampezzo, Italy.
Cavagnoud resumed training in August, but only started skiing downhill in November--making her victory all the more impressive. She was timed in 1:34.01. Austria's Tanja Schneider finished nearly a second behind, in 1:34.94.
Isolde Kostner of Italy, the local favorite and points leader in the downhill, made a string of errors and finished 13th, 1.65 seconds behind Cavagnoud.
SKI JUMPING: World champion Martin Schmitt of Germany clinched his fourth straight victory and seventh overall of the season as he came from behind to win the first of the weekend's two World Cup events in Sapporo, Japan.
On Mount Okura's large hill, Schmitt's 411.75-foot jump was the second best behind Norwegian Lasse Ottesen's 418.31-foot jump in the first series. In his second jump, against a headwind, Schmitt leaped 387.14 feet, the best in the afternoon series, and earned a total of 238.8 points.
Finland's Janne Ahonen, who jumped 395.34 feet for fifth place in the first series, flew 380.58 feet for fourth in the afternoon to finish second with a total of 226.7 points.
BIATHLON: World Cup leader Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway, overcoming penalties from three misses with an impressive cross-country performance, won the 12.5-kilometer pursuit event in Anterselva, Italy. Germany's Andrea Henkel also rallied from three misses to win the women's 10-kilometer pursuit. Sweden's Magdalena Forsberg was third, stretching her World Cup lead.