Rebensburg takes slalom gold; Mancuso 8th 

Unheralded Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany beat the fog down the mountain and took a surprise victory in the Olympic giant slalom Thursday.

Rebensburg, who had never won a major race, clocked a two-run combined time of 2 minutes, 27.11 seconds down Franz's GS, and it held up when the first-run leaders were slowed by fog that got worse after her run.

Tina Maze of Slovenia was second, 0.12 second behind, matching her result in super-G, and first-run leader Elisabeth Goergl of Austria added another bronze, 0.49 back, duplicating her downhill finish.

The 20-year-old Rebensburg stood only sixth after the opening leg.

Defending champion Julia Mancuso of Squaw Valley, Calif., who was 18th after the first run, had the third-fastest time of the second leg and finished eighth.

The first run was completed Wednesday, but dense fog forced organizers to postpone the second leg for a day.

Rebensburg's best previous result was second in the last World Cup GS before the Vancouver Games in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Before that, she had never finished on the podium, but she had been threatening to break out for several seasons. She finished eighth in giant slalom at the 2007 world championships in Are, Sweden, when she was just 17, and was ninth at last year's worlds in Val d'Isere, France.

The postponement, plus an early start time of 9:30 a.m. PST, took some of the drama out of the race. Many fewer fans were on hand compared to Wednesday, and even Rebensburg barely celebrated after finishing her run, assuming that one of the five remaining skiers would beat her.

Maze and Goergl both lost time at the beginning of their second runs, with the fog worst on top, then made up time on the bottom — but not enough to beat Rebensburg.

Only after Goergl came down did Rebensburg start pumping her fists.

Like the first leg Wednesday, organizers again rushed to get the race in, sending down racers at 60- and 75-second intervals — meaning there were often two skiers on the course at a time — and abandoning TV breaks before the first 30 racers came down and the medals were decided.

The short intervals created problems in the first leg, with Mancuso's first trip down interrupted because teammate Lindsey Vonn crashed out immediately ahead of her — breaking her right pinkie. Mancuso had to be brought back up for another try but couldn't match the speed of her aborted run.

The race was briefly interrupted Thursday after 18 skiers came down due to an apparent timing equipment problem.

Maze has had a stellar games, also finishing fifth in super-combined.

"It's great. I didn't expect that I would take two medals," Maze said. "I was never racing so good at the big events, but this time it's different, and I skied confident."

Goergl's medal haul now matches that of her mother, Traudl Hecher, who also won two bronze medals at the Olympics — in downhill at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games and the 1964 Innsbruck Games.

Goergl also won a bronze in super-combined at last season's worlds, and she was already claiming family bragging rights.

"With my worlds championships medal it's five," said Goergl, whose older brother Stephan is also a World Cup skier.

Goergl said the overnight wait didn't affect her.

"I had the same focus as if we had started the race today," she said. "I wanted gold today."

Fabienne Suter of Switzerland finished fourth, Kathrin Zettel of Austria was fifth, and world champion Kathrin Hoelzl of Germany placed sixth.

Super-combined winner Maria Riesch finished 10th, putting three German racers in the top 10.

Giant slalom standout Tanja Poutiainen was 13th, Sarah Schleper of Vail, Colo., 14th, and Swedish standout Anja Paerson 22nd — even though her father and coach, Anders, set the second run.

The other American finisher was Megan McJames of Park City, Utah, who was 32nd in her Olympic debut.

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