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In brief: Miller clinches World Cup; Vonn closes in

Fri., March 14, 2008

Bode Miller clinched his second overall World Cup skiing title at Bormio, Italy, on Thursday then promptly retreated behind the tinted windows of his personal bus.

Lindsey Vonn was all smiles after moving so close to securing the women’s crown that her only competitor still in the running conceded defeat.

Miller and Vonn are on the verge of the first American sweep of the overall titles since Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney did it 25 years ago.

For Miller, who split from the U.S. team this season to train on his own, there were no smiles, no champagne, and few words – until he showed up at a sponsor appearance.

Miller finished a disappointing 12th in the final Super-G of the season. He clinched the overall title when his closest rival, Didier Cuche, announced after the race that he would not compete in the season’s final slalom.

Vonn finished second in the season’s final Super-G behind Fabienne Suter of Switzerland, her best result in the discipline all season. She holds a 197-point lead over Maria Riesch of Germany with two races remaining and 200 points at stake.

“A quarter-inch wide blade is having much larger ramifications for both U.S. figure skating champion Evan Lysacek and his compatriots.

Problems with the blade, which broke last week, led to an injury that forced Lysacek’s withdrawal from the world figure skating championships that begin Tuesday in Gothenburg, Sweden.


Niners dump Dilfer

The San Francisco 49ers terminated quarterback Trent Dilfer’s contract, possibly signaling the end of the 14-year veteran’s career.

Dilfer started six games for the 49ers last season, passing for 1,166 yards with seven touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 55.1 passer rating before incurring a season-ending concussion.

“The Detroit Lions cut running back Kevin Jones and defensive end Kalimba Edwards.

“The Houston Texans signed free-agent running back Chris Brown.

“The New York Giants signed free-agent linebacker Danny Clark to a two-year contract.

“The new All American Football League has scrapped plans for its 2008 inaugural season and will continue to search for financial backing for 2009.


Couples wows Bay Hill

Fred Couples made four birdies in his opening six holes, shot 5-under-par 65, and golf finally felt fun. Tiger Woods couldn’t hit the green with a wedge, struggled to shoot even par, and looked human shooting a 70.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational at Orlando, Fla., delivered a few surprises, none bigger than the 48-year-old Couples booming tee shots, taking only 23 putts and finishing atop the leaderboard at Bay Hill with J.J. Henry. They were a stroke ahead of defending champion Vijay Singh, Lee Westwood, Tom Lehman and Lucas Glover.

“Down to 10 players after seven players deserted the team and another was suspended for a red card, the U23 Cuba squad dropped a 2-0 decision to Honduras in Group A play in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying soccer tournament at Tampa, Fla. Freddy Adu scored on a penalty kick minute to help the United States beat Panama 1-0.


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