December 16, 2012
Albert Demchenko finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 37.605 seconds over two runs.
Roman Koksarov/AP

SIGULDA, Latvia (AP) -- Veteran Albert Demchenko of Russia won the men's singles race Sunday at a luge World Cup event in Latvia, narrowly beating long-time Italian rival Armin Zoeggeler.

The 41-year-old Demchenko finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 37.605 seconds over two runs on the Sigulda track, beating Zoeggeler by 0.042 seconds.

"I feel younger than I actually am," said Demchenko, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist. "We have a very good physiotherapist on our Russian team, and I have no back problems."

Germany's Felix Loch finished third with a time of 1:37.708, a result he attributed to a crucial error on a bend.

"I've made that really big mistake in the exit of curve 15," he said. "It was such a stupid mistake it almost makes me laugh. But hey, things like that happen."

Zoeggeler agreed with his German rival.

"Without that mistake, Felix would surely have won," Zoeggeler said.

Despite the error, Loch retained his overall lead after four events this season. His compatriot Andi Langenhan is second, while Demchenko's victory Sunday propelled him to third place.

American Chris Mazdzer finished 19th for the day, just 1.133 second behind Demchenko, while Taylor Morris came in 23rd.

In the team relay races, Germany won again to maintain its dominance in the event, followed by Italy and Russia. Germany leads the overall ranking after three of six team relay races. The United States finished fifth in the relay.

Schwarz wins 1,000 speedskating; Shani Davis 2nd

HARBIN, China (AP) -- Samuel Schwarz of Germany beat Shani Davis of the U.S. to win the 1,000-meter World Cup speedskating race in China on Sunday to rise to second in the overall standings.

Schwarz finished in 1 minute, 9.69 seconds - 0.18 ahead of Davis and 0.23 in front of Hein Otterspeer of the Netherlands.

American Denny Morrison leads the standings after five races with 325 points, 11 more than Schwarz. Otterspeer is third with 310.

Joji Kato of Japan won the 500 ahead of Dutchmen Ronald Mulder and Jan Smeekens.

On the women's side, Zhang Hong of China captured the 1,000 ahead of Czech skater Karolina Erbanova and Russia's Olga Fatkulina. Lee Sang-hwa of South Korea won the 500, followed by Yu Jing of China and Nao Kodaira of Japan.

Hefti wins 4-man bobsled race to end Zubkov's run

LA PLAGNE, France (AP) -- Beat Hefti of Switzerland won a four-man bobsled race Sunday to end a run of four consecutive wins by World Cup titleholder Alexander Zubkov of Russia.

Pushed by Alex Baumann, Thomas Lamparter and Juerg Egger, he beat Zubkov's Russia 1 crew of Alexey Negodaylo, Dmitry Trunenkov and Maxim Mokrousov by .09 seconds.

Zubkov was followed over the line in La Plagne by the Russia 2 team of Alexander Kasjanov, Ilvir Khuzin, Maxim Belugin and Petr Moiseev. They were .26 behind.

World and Olympic champion Steven Holcomb's USA 1 crew finished a disappointing seventh - .74 behind Hefti, who is 10th in the overall standings.

Birnbacher, Berger capture biathlon races

POKLJUKA, Slovenia (AP) -- Andreas Birnbacher of Germany shot perfectly to win a 15-kilometer mass start event at a biathlon World Cup meet Sunday. Tora Berger of Norway took the women's 12.5K race.

Birnbacher was the only skier to hit all targets in the men's race, finishing in 35 minutes, 39.4 seconds to beat Jakov Fak of Slovakia by 17.7 seconds.

Tim Burke of the U.S. was third, 22.6 seconds back. Both Burke and Fak missed two shots, as did defending overall champion Martin Mourcade of France - 25.9 back in fourth.

Berger also missed two shots but capitalized on mistakes by her main rivals to win in 35:53.8. Miriam Goessner of Germany was 35.5 seconds back in second after missing four shots. Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic was 1:02.1 back.

Schlierenzauer wins ski jump in Switzerland

ENGELBERG, Switzerland (AP) -- Gregor Schlierenzauer of Austria won a large hill event Sunday to take the overall lead in the ski jump World Cup.

Schlierenzauer had jumps of 136 and 131 meters for a total of 273.7 points, beating fellow Austrian Andreas Kofler and Andreas Wellinger of Germany by 3.4 points.

Kofler and Wellinger scored 270.3 to share second place, while Wolfgang Loitzl of Austria was fourth at 262.7.

Home favorite and double Olympic champion Simon Ammann had a disappointing day with two poor jumps to finish 26th.

Schlierenzauer leads the overall standings with 448 points. He is 18 ahead of Severin Freund of Germany, who was sixth Sunday.

Manificat, Kowalczyk win cross-country ski races

CANMORE, Alberta (AP) -- France's Maurice Manificat and Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk won skiathlon races Sunday in World Cup cross-country skiing.

Manificat captured the men's 30-kilometer race in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 47.3 seconds. Italy's Roland Clara was second in 1:17:48 and Norway's Sjur Roethe was third in 1:17:49.

Kowalczyk was timed in 42 minutes, 51.5 seconds for the 15-kilometer skiathlon. She also won the 10-kilometer race Thursday. Her fans waved Polish flags and sang the national anthem as she crossed the finish line.

Finland's Anne Kylloenen was the runner-up in 43:26.4 and Norway's Vibeke Skofterud was third in 43:26.5.

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