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Cauldron will be relit

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Mike Eruzione wouldn't miss it for the world. Neither would Jim Craig, Scott Hamilton, Linda Fratianne nor the Mahre brothers.

Celebrating the Lake Placid Winter Olympics of 1980 and the miraculous performances of the U.S. hockey team or speedskater Eric Heiden never gets old.

Just ask the governor.

"It was just one of the most exciting moments I can remember," George Pataki said Friday in announcing a two-week 25th anniversary celebration slated to start in mid-February. "You talk to people in Lake Placid and they still remember it like it happened yesterday.

"It still obviously means a great deal to Lake Placid and the entire North Country, and America as well."

Craig, the goaltender and teammate to Eruzione on the
gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic hockey team, will kick off the
festivities by re-lighting the original cauldron on Feb. 12. Figure
skaters Hamilton and Fratianne and alpine skiers Phil and Steve
Mahre also will participate in activities.

Hackl wins 33rd luge race
IGLS, Austria -- German veteran Georg Hackl won his 33rd
luge World Cup event Saturday to join Austrian Markus Prock atop
the career list.

Hackl, who also won last year on the Olympic track, finished
with a combined time of 1 minute, 37.553 seconds for the two runs.
Austria's Markus Kleinheinz (1:37.721) was second, and Italian
Armin Zoeggeler (1:37.818) finished third.

The 38-year-old Hackl also won gold at the world championships
eight years ago on the same track.

Kleinheinz closed in on World Cup leader Albert Demtchenko of
Russia in the overall standings. The Russian had a bad day, making
mistakes in both runs and finishing sixth.

After seven of nine races, Demtchenko leads with 529 points.
Kleinheinz has 453, and Germany's David Moeller is third with 441.

Mayer, Heil capture moguls titles
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Olympic silver medalist Travis Mayer
won the first World Cup moguls contest of his career Saturday, and
defending World Cup champion Jennifer Heil won the women's event.
Mayer, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., received 26.71 points from
the judges at Whiteface Mountain as he took the World Cup points
lead. Moguls world champion Mikko Ronkainen of Finland took second
with 26.40 points and Canadian Marc-Andre Moreau finished third
with 26.19.
"That was the hole in my career and now I've filled it," Mayer
said.
Heil, of Canada, had 25.70 points with Czech Nikola Sudova
coming in second with 25.22. Michelle Roark of Denver took third
with 24.37 points.

Cheek glides to speedskating win
CALGARY, Alberta -- Joey Cheek of the United States won the
500 meters in a World Cup speedskating event Saturday.
Cheek finished in 34.81 seconds to beat Japanese skaters Yuya
Oikawa and Joji Kato.
Erben Wennemars of the Netherlands won the 1,000 in 1:08.26,
edging Masaaki Kobayashi of Japan and Gerard van Velde of the
Netherlands.
In the women's 500, Manli Wang of China lost for the first time
this season, finishing fourth. Tomomi Okazaki of Japan won in
37.73. Chiara Simionato of Italy won the women's 1,000 in 1:14.89.

Freestyle race results
NOVE MESTO, Czech Republic -- Vincent Vittoz of France and Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic won World Cup freestyle races Saturday.

Vittoz defeated Christian Hoffmann of Austria by 4.4 seconds to
win the men's 15-kilometer event, his third victory of the season.
The Frenchman is second in the overall standings with 434 points,
90 behind leader Axel Teichmann of Germany, who finished 24th.

Tobias Angerer of Germany was third, 9.6 seconds behind the
winner, and another German, Rene Sommerfeldt, moved to third
overall with 294 points following his fifth-place finish.

Neumannova earned her 13th career World Cup victory -- her first
in front of a home crowd. She beat World Cup leader Marit Bjoergen
of Norway by 7.7 seconds.

"It's a big thing to win at home and I'm very happy,"
Neumannova said. "I had a slower start ... but was strong at the
finish."

Julia Tchepalova of Russia finished third, 13.6 seconds behind
Neumannova.

Neumannova is third in the overall standings with 407 points
after 10 races. Bjoergen still comfortably leads with 790 points.
Estonia's Kristina Smigun, who was seventh Saturday, is second with 516.

Widhoelzl wins ski flying
BAD MITTERNDORF, Austria -- Austria's Andreas Widhoelzl won
a World Cup ski flying event for his first victory in more
than two years.

Norway's Roar Loekelsoey, last year's ski flying world champion,
was second and Poland's Adam Malysz was third. Finland's Janne
Ahonen, the runaway World Cup leader, is recovering from the flu
and didn't compete.

Ski flying is contested off unusually big hills, with the
jumpers covering great distances.

Widhoelzl recorded the 18th victory of his career. He soared
206.5 meters in the second round on the Kulm hill, the longest jump
of the day, and won with a total of 398.3 points. Loekelsoey had
396.0 points and Malysz 393.9.

"I've been working hard for this and now I'm rewarded,"
Widhoelzl said. "I already felt great yesterday, but it was a
perfect day today."

Ahonen leads the standings with 1,260 points, followed by
Austria's Martin Hoellwarth (717) and the Czech Republic's Jakub
Janda (672).

Einar wins biathlon
RUHPOLDING, Germany -- Four-time Olympic champion Ole Einar
Bjoerndalen of Norway won a World Cup biathlon event,
using his speed in cross-country skiing to edge Raphael Poiree of
France in a 10-kilometer sprint.

He finished in 23 minutes, 46.9 seconds for his 46th biathlon
World Cup victory. Poiree, the World Cup overall leader, was 3.6
seconds behind. Italy's Rene Laurent Vuillermoz was 25.9 seconds
back in third. His best previous finish was 11th two years ago.

Bjoerndalen missed a target in the shooting while Poiree's
shooting was flawless. The Norwegian overcame his penalty round by
using his cross-country skills to gain more than 30 seconds.

Bjoerndalen, off to a slow start this year, moved to third in
the overall standings with 333 points. Poiree leads with 472,
followed by Germany's Sven Fischer with 400.

Bjoerndalen plans a limited biathlon schedule leading to the
March world championships and compete in cross-country races
instead.

Kraus, Iljans win ski cross races
POZZA DI FASSA, Italy -- Tomas Kraus of the Czech Republic
and Magdalena Iljans of Sweden won World Cup ski cross races.

Kraus captured his second consecutive ski cross race and
strengthened his lead in the freestyle standings. France's Simon
Bastelica was second and Italy's Karl Heinz Molling was third.

Kraus has 226 points after three races, followed Austria's
Isidor Gruener at 205. Gruener was fifth Saturday.

Among the women, Ophelie David of France leads the standings
with 280 points from two wins and a second. Karin Huttary of
Austria is second at 147 and Iljans moved to third at 145.

The next World Cup ski cross is at Kreischberg, Austria, on Jan. 21.

Carta wins 500-meter final
TURIN, Italy -- Italy's Fabio Carta edged Germany's Arian
Nachbar to win the 500-meter final at the European short
track speedskating championships and avenge an opening-night
defeat.

Russia's Tatiana Borodulina captured the women's 500, beating
Italy's Marta Capurso and Bulgaria's Evgenia Radanova.

The three-day championships at the renovated Palavela indoor
rink inaugurated test events for the 2006 Winter Olympics. There
will be test events next week at bobsled and cross-country venues.

Carta lost the 1,500-meter final to Nachbar on Friday when he
raised his arms in triumph too soon. This time, he took the gold in
the 500 in 43.010 seconds. Nachbar was second in 43.103 and Mikhail
Rajine of Russia was third in 45.186.

Carta and Nachbar share the standings lead after two events with
55 points each.

Among the women, Borodulina was timed in 45.840. Radanova, who
won Friday's 1,500, leads the standings with 47 points, with
Capurso second at 42.

Sunday's races feature the 1,000, 3,000 and relay finals.