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Italy's 1-2 finish protested

After the world's leading all-around skiers had finished shooting themselves in the foot, Italians won the gold and silver medals in the Olympic men's Alpine combined Tuesday, at least provisionally, and _ here's the really big news _ neither was named Tomba.

Ever heard of Josef Polig? Gianfranco Martin? No? Well, they were the most complete racers in Monday's downhill and Tuesday's slalom, the results of which were combined to determine who got the medals.


Polig, who was sixth in the downhill, finished fifth in the slalom for a total of 14.58 points, edging his countryman, Martin, who was second and seventh for a total of 14.90.

There may be one problem, though. About two hours after the competition, the French Ski Federation, perhaps noting that one of its skiers, Jean-Luc Cretier, had placed fourth and barely out of the medals, protested to the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the International Olympic Committee that the Italians should be disqualified because the advertising logos on their sweaters were too big.

The FIS certified the race results and then said it would take about three weeks to review the decision.

The protest was an appropriate climax to two controversial days on the slopes. After Marc Girardelli of Luxembourg and Guenther Mader of Austria fell Monday on a downhill course that some had called unsafe, Paul Accola of Switzerland and then Hubert Strolz of Austria, the defending Olympic champion, slid out of contention Tuesday on tightly set, icy slalom courses that were criticized by just about everyone except, naturally, the Italians.

Strolz's failure was the most maddening. Going into the second heat of the slalom, Strolz _ trying to become the first man to win the same Alpine event in back-to-back Olympics _ had a comfortable lead. But five gates from the finish, his skis slid out from under him, and he fell.


Russian woman makes history

LES SAISIES, France _ With one gold medal, Anfissa Reztsova made history twice.

Reztsova, a Russian competing for the Unified Team, captured the first women's biathlon gold medal ever in the Olympics by winning the 7.5-kilometer event.

It also made her the first woman to win gold medals in two different Winter Olympics sports. Reztsova won a gold medal in the Soviet cross-country relay team at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary and had a silver medal in the 20K.

The biathlon combines a cross-country race with marksmanship at the shooting range.


Frenchman in good position

COURCHEVEL, France _ Fabrice Guy was in third place, but that might be close enough for the Frenchman to land the host country's first gold medal. Although trailing Austrian Klaus Ofner after the jumping portion, Guy is in good shape to take control of the two-day event based on his history of strong cross-country performances.


Myler in contention despite illness

LA PLAGNE, France _ Cammy Myler, fighting off the flu, slid into sixth place and medal contention after the first two runs of the women's luge, matching the highest-ever Olympic placing for an American slider.

Myler had a combined time of 1:34.023 for two runs down the 3,749-foot track, leaving her .669 seconds behind leader Doris Neuner of Austria. Angelika Neuner is second and teammate Andrea Tagwerker third. Austria hasn't won a medal in women's singles luge since 1964.