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U.S. Team Sweeps Giant Slalom Race

March 11, 1998

NAGANO, Japan (AP) _ U.S. Alpine skiers swept a giant slalom race today, winning gold, silver and bronze medals in the LW2 category in the Winter Paralympics.

Jason Lalla of Avon, Colo., who lost his left leg when his motorcycle and a car collided in 1989, won the gold in his first trip to the Paralympics.

Monte Meier of Hunter, N.Y., took the silver and Greg Mannino of Vail, Colo., won the bronze.

Lalla was a serious hockey player and a recreational skier before his accident, two weeks after his graduation from high school.

``I remember looking at the cover of Ski Magazine when I was young and seeing Mannino’s picture, looking up to him,″ said Lalla. ``Today, I beat him and that feels fantastic. I’m glad my parents were there to see it,″ Lalla said.

Mannino has nine gold medals from Paralympics racing, including one from the downhill event of these games.

On the final day of ice sledge racing, Japan’s Yutaka Takeda set a world record in the men’s 1,000-meter race for LW10 athletes with no functional sitting balance.

Takeda won in 2 minutes, 25.91 seconds, slicing 1.01 seconds off the previous mark set five years ago by Terje Johansen of Norway.

Japan has won nine of the 16 ice sledge events, followed by Norway with seven gold medals.

Norway still leads the gold medal standings with 13, followed by Japan and Germany with 11 each. Russia has nine and the United States and Switzerland each has eight.

The Paralympics opened last Thursday with 590 disabled athletes from a record 32 countries competing in and around Nagano, site of the Winter Olympics last month. The Paralympics end Saturday.