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Alpine skiing-Olympic champion Hoefl-Riesch, 29, retires

By Karolos Grohmann (Reuters) - Olympic combined champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany ended her Alpine skiing career on Thursday, quitting a month after adding a third gold medal to her collection. The four-times Olympic medalist told reporters in Munich that she initially thought of skiing for one more season after winning gold and silver at the Sochi Winter Games last month.

Wanted: America's next winter sports superstar

By Keith Weir SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - The absence of injured skier Lindsey Vonn and the shock dethroning of snowboarder Shaun White have created a gaping hole for a new American sporting superstar to fill and grab sponsors' gold from Sochi. The Olympics give huge exposure to athletes from beyond America's staple sports of basketball, football and baseball, but that window is open only briefly and failure means a swift return to relative obscurity.

German Hoefl-Riesch seeks to profit from Vonn's absence

By Keith Weir SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - German skier Maria Hoefl-Riesch goes for her second gold of the Sochi Olympics in the women's downhill on Wednesday, her chances boosted by the absence of injured American champion Lindsey Vonn. The downhill race on the Rosa Khutor piste in the mountains above Sochi is the first of six medals to be won on Wednesday.

Olympics: USA announces 230-member Olympic team

The United States named its largest ever delegation for a Winter Games Monday by announcing it is sending 230 athletes to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Five-time Olympic medallist Shani Davis, slalom skier Mikaela Shiffrin and 36-year-old Bode Miller highlight the 230-member team that will travel to Sochi for the Games beginning February 6. The team, which includes 125 men and 105 women, is the largest of any country in the history of the Winter Games.

Alpine Skiing: Hoefl-Riesch wins World Cup downhill

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch won the women's World Cup downhill held over a shortened course at Cortina d'Ampezzo on Friday. Already leading in the overall World Cup standings, Hoefl-Riesch timed 1 minute 17.84 seconds with Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather second 00.31sec back and Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer at 00.75sec. It was a third World Cup win of the season for the 29-year-old German, the two others also being downhills at Lake Louise in Canada.

Alpine Skiing: Hofl-Riesch wins World Cup downhill

Germany's Maria Hofl-Riesch won the women's World Cup downhill held over a shortened course at Cortina d'Ampezzo on Friday. Already leading in the overall World Cup standings, Hofl-Riesch timed 1 minute 17.84 seconds with Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather second 00.31sec back and Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer at 00.75sec. It was a third World Cup win of the season for the 29-year-old German, the two others also being downhills at Lake Louise in Canada.

Olympics: US in no panic without 'racehorse' Vonn

In a brightly lit gym in the middle of Austria, Leanne Smith, Stacey Cook and Laurenne Ross take turns exercising with massive weights that look about as heavy as they are. That's just a "light set", says Wade Bishop, assistant coach and conditioning coach for the US women's speed team. With ski star Lindsey Vonn out of the Olympics due to a knee injury, the task has fallen to her teammates to bring home the medals.

Olympics: Shiffrin's teen spirit has golden tint

When Mikaela Shiffrin took world slalom gold last season, she became the youngest American to be crowned a ski champion on the global stage. In the absence of the injured Lindsey Vonn, she will now head up the US women's ski team at next month's Olympics in Sochi, with the eyes of a nation fixed on her moves. After her world championships victory in Schladming, it quickly became evident that Shiffrin was no schoolgirl who happened to be a good skier on the side. Her whole life had been geared around her sporting prowess.

Alpine skiing: Cortina set for bumper week after race cancellations

The Italian Dolomites resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo is set for four bumper days of World Cup racing next week after a women's downhill and super-G were cancelled due to heavy snow. The downhill, held over from Saturday, replaced a scheduled super-G on Sunday but had to be called off again after heavy overnight snowfall made the Tofane piste unraceable. The International Ski Federation said it would have taken at least 15 hours of working on the run, in good weather conditions, to make the circuit raceable after the overnight snow fall.

Alpine skiing: Cortina downhill snowed off again

The women's World Cup downhill, held over from Saturday, had to be called off again in Cortina on Sunday due to heavy snowfall, organisers announced. The event was due to have been staged Sunday in place of the scheduled super-G. But the International Ski Federation explained they had to call it off as it would have taken at least 15 hours to make the circuit raceable after the overnight snow fall.
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