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A rare medal for US

Bill Demong accomplished something Americans rarely do -- winning a medal in Nordic combined at a world championship event.

Demong, who fractured his skull diving into a pool five years ago, won the silver medal in the 15-kilometer event at the Nordic Championships yesterday in Sapporo, Japan. The Vermontville, N.Y., resident is only the second American to medal in the event at the championships and first since 2003.

Ronny Ackermann of Germany won in 38 minutes 35.6 seconds, while Demong edged Anssi Koivuranta of Finland in a photo finish -- 8.5 seconds behind the winner.

"It's amazing to have worked so hard at something and focused on results for so long and have everything just click," said Demong, who stood in eighth place before the cross-country race.

Speedskating -- Sven Kramer of the Netherlands broke his own world record in the 5,000 meters in the World Cup final in Calgary. He finished in 6:07.48 to break the mark of 6:08.78 he set Nov. 19, 2005.

Women's downhill -- Julia Mancuso won in Tarvisio, Italy, for her fourth victory this season and moved within 9 points of Marlies Schild atop the World Cup overall standings.

Men's giant slalom -- Benjamin Raich (2:19.03) won for the third straight year in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, and moved to within 3 points of World Cup overall leader Aksel Lund Svindal, who tied for fourth with American Ted Ligety.

Moguls -- Dale Begg-Smith of Australia and Jennifer Heil of Canada won the last World Cup races of the season, in Voss, Norway, and earned the overall titles.

David Babic of Washington, Vt., was third in the day's race.