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Olympics: Puchner to replace Reichelt for Austrian ski team

Austria will take speed skier Joachim Puchner to Sochi after medal-hopeful Hannes Reichelt had to drop out at the last minute due to a back injury. Puchner, 26, will be one of 22 skiers sent by Austria to the Olympic Games on February 7-23, the maximum quota allowed per competing nation. His Olympic ticket comes after Reichelt announced Monday, just two days after winning the prestigious Kitzbuehel downhill, that he would miss Sochi and the rest of the season due to a spinal disc problem requiring surgery.

Olympics: Fenninger, Hirscher headline star-studded Austrian team

Ski nation Austria on Monday unveiled its team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi on February 7-23, led by stars Marcel Hirscher and Anna Fenninger. The alpine country will send 22 skiers -- 10 women and 12 men -- to the Games, the maximum quota allowed per competing nation, and a record 130 athletes in total. The men's ski team will be hoping to erase the painful memory of Vancouver in 2010 when they failed to bring home a single medal, and will be banking on the likes of slalom world champion Hirscher and Kitzbuehel winner Hannes Reichelt.

Alpine skiing: Gut wins women's World Cup super-G

Switzerland's Lara Gut won the women's alpine World Cup super-G here Saturday, her second triumph in two days. Gut continued her red-hot start to a ski season that will be highlighted by the 2014 Sochi Olympics, notching her third victory already. A day after winning the first downhill of the season, she won the super-G in a time of 1min 18.42sec. She was 0.9sec faster than Austrian Elisabeth Goergl, but Goergl was later disqualified, leaving Austrian Anna Fenninger in second place with a time of 1:19.34.

Football: Rapid part company with coach Schoettel

Austrian club Rapid Vienna confirmed on Wednesday they have parted company with coach Peter Schoettel after a succession of poor results. Rapid have won just one of their last 10 games in the Austrian Bundesliga to fall to third in the table, some 20 points behind leaders Austria Vienna with seven matches remaining. A Cup quarter-final defeat to regional league side Pasching on Tuesday was the final straw for Schoettel, who had been in charge since the summer of 2011. Schoettel, a Rapid hero in his playing days, is replaced by reserve team coach Zoran Barisic.

Alpine skiing: Kriechbaum to head Austrian women's team

Austria's alpine ski federation named Juergen Kriechbaum Thursday as head of its women's team, replacing Herbert Mandl, who retires at the end of the season after 11 successful years. Kriechbaum, 46, a former coach with the Austrian women's speed team and most recently youth trainer, has signed a contract for two years with the option of extending it, the federation (OeSV) said at a press conference.

Alpine skiing-Schild will defend slalom world title

SCHLADMING, Austria, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Austria's Marlies Schild will defend her slalom world title in Schladming on Saturday, two months after a serious knee injury, the Austrian ski team said on Wednesday. "Thumbs up! Marlies will be at the start in Schladming," the women's ski team said on their Facebook page. "It's a great gift to be able to go," Schild herself said.

Alpine skiing: Maier blames coaches for Austria debacle

Ski legend Hermann Maier slammed the coaches and staff of the underperforming Austrian ski team Monday following incomprehension in this ski-crazed nation over their dismal medal haul. "It's about time somebody questioned closely the officials and the coaching staff," Maier, a three-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion, wrote in his blog (http://ski-wm.raiffeisen.at/blog/). "Instead of taking the pressure away from the team, they have increased it with exaggerated expectations," he complained. "It's too easy to give the athletes all the blame."

UPDATE 1-Alpine skiing-Fog delays start of world championships

(updates with race started) SCHLADMING, Austria, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The alpine skiing world championships in Schladming got off to a false start when the women's Super-G had to be delayed because of poor visibility on Tuesday. Scheduled for 1000 GMT, the inaugural event of the skiing fortnight in the Austrian resort was pushed back several times by 15 minutes because of heavy fog on the piste. The race eventually started just before a deadline which would have seen the event postponed for another day.

Alpine skiing: Quiet Schladming readies for ski madness

Nestled in the heart of Austria at the foot of the majestic Dachstein peaks, Schladming, which hosts the World Ski Championships between February 4-17, is no stranger to big sports events. In 1982, it welcomed the world championships and every year since 1997 it has played host to the popular "Night Race" World Cup slalom -- with some 45,000 spectators converging on the small town of 4,500 for one day's ski racing.

Alpine skiing: Schild back on skis before world champs

Reigning world slalom champion Marlies Schild is back on her skis after her recent knee injury in her battle to return to form for the upcoming World Ski Championships, the Austrian ski federation said Thursday. "The skiing worked out perfectly, my knee played along well," said the 31-year-old four-time slalom World Cup winner. But whether she can race and defend her 2011 gold medal will only be decided shortly before the women's slalom on February 16.
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