Norwegian Svindal leads super-combined
Aksel Lund Svindal put himself in position for a second Olympic gold medal after leading the downhill portion of the super-combined race Sunday.
Svindal, the big Norwegian who won the super-G on Friday after taking silver in the downhill earlier last week, sped down the Dave Murray course in 1 minute, 53.15 seconds.
Dominik Paris, a 20-year-old Italian, was second, 0.39 second behind, and Carlo Janka of Switzerland was third, 0.50 second back.
Super-combined adds the times from one downhill run and one slalom leg.
Svindal won the super-combined at last season's world championships in Val d'Isere, France, even though he struggles in slalom.
"I did my work now and they'll have to do their work in the slalom," Svindal said.
American Bode Miller stood seventh, 0.76 seconds behind Svindal, while teammate and defending champion Ted Ligety finished 15th, 1.91 out.
Miller was faster than Svindal on the upper section of the course, but acknowledged that he made a series of mistakes on the lower part. Still, having begun his career as a slalom specialist, he wasn't counting himself out.
"I mean there's a lot of guys who can ski fast slalom. It's going to come down to slalom. We kind of knew that anyway," said Miller, who has already won a silver and a bronze at these games. "My slalom's been coming along great. The setups are good. I feel like if I have a good slalom I could definitely do it. It's not like I was going to hold back anyway, but I'm going to be going full gas in the slalom."
Back at the 2006 Turin Games when Ligety won, the combined was held in the traditional format of one downhill run and two slalom legs. The new format doesn't favor him as much.
Downhill winner Didier Defago of Switzerland was fourth and speed specialist Hans Olsson of Sweden was fifth. Another Swiss skier, Silvan Zurbriggen — one of the pre-race favorites — was sixth, 0.73 back.
Ivica Kostelic, the Croatian slalom specialist tapped by many as the top favorite, was ninth, 1.05 seconds out, while Austrian threat Benjamin Raich — the overall World Cup leader — was 12th, 1.55 seconds back.