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Italy Wins in Women’s Slalom

February 19, 1998

SHIGA KOGEN, Japan (AP) _ On a hill that was steep and dangerously slick, Germany’s Hilde Gerg edged Italy’s Deborah Compagnoni by six-hundedths of a second to win the women’s slalom.

Gerg, whose bronze medal in the women’s combined two days earlier was her first Olympic medal, won the gold with a brilliant second run Thursday (Wednesday night, EST) on a course that had humbled some of the top medal contenders.

Kristina Koznick of Burnsville, Minn., failed in her bid to become the first American to medal in the women’s slalom since 1972. She was a distant ninth after the first of the day’s two runs, then straddled the gate and was disqualified just before the finish of the second.

Gerg won in a combined time, for two runs, of 1 minute, 32.40 seconds. Compagnoni, who led Gerg by six-tenths of a second after the first run, was second in 1:32.46.

Zali Steggall won Australia’s first skiing medal, and second medal ever at the Winter Olympics, by finishing third, The highest previous finish by an Australian in Alpine skiing was 17th by Jacqui Cowderoy in 1980. Steggall learned to ski while living in France with her family from age 4 to 14.

Seven of the first 10 skiers down the course on the second run either crashed or missed a gate.

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