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Costly driver error puts U.S. 9th after 2 bob runs

LA PLAGNE, France -- Chris Coleman did his job as Herschel Walker's replacement on the top U.S. four-man bobsled team. Driver Randy Will, who canned Walker, didn't quite do his.

As a result, USA I was ninth after yesterday's first two runs, .76 of a second behind German great Wolfgang Hoppe.

Start times, the reason Will sacked Walker on Thursday, were great. With Coleman as the brakeman, Will's crew covered the first 50 meters in 5.92 seconds on the first run, tying Hoppe and two-man gold medalist Gustav Weder of Switzerland for the fastest time. Their 5.95 on the second run was third-best.

But Will lost an estimated three-tenths of a second -- enough to move up three places -- when the right rear runner lifted off the icy track two turns from the finish line on the first run.


Egorova's fifth medal outshines Italy's gold


LES SAISIES, France -- Stefania Belmondo took the Olympic gold medal in the final women's cross-country event. Then she took a back seat to Lyubov Egorova, who finished second but made Olympic history.

Belmondo became the first Italian woman to win a cross-country gold medal by racing to victory in the grueling 30-kilometer event that completed the women's cross-country program.

But Belmondo shared the medals platform and the attention with Egorova, whose silver medal made her the most successful cross-country athlete in a single Games.

LES ARCS, France -- French skiers posted the three fastest times in the semifinals of the men's speed skiing competition, a demonstration event.

Philippe Goitschel led the way with a top speed of 135.766 mph, followed by Michael Prufer at 134.619 and Laurent Sistanch at 133.572.

Four Americans finished in the top 20 and qualified for today's finals.

John Mueller, of Breckenridge, Colo., clocked the seventh best overall speed of 132.463. Jim Morgan, of Olympic Valley, Calif., was 10th at 131.371; Jeffrey Hamilton, of Truckee, Calif., was 11th at 130.909; and Dale Womack, of Vail, Colo., was 15th at 130.297.

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