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Germany Seals No. 1 Spot in Turin Olympics
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Germany has secured an unbeatable lead in the Turin Olympics while Austria has achieved its historic best despite being in the center of a doping row.


Germany won the men's 15km biathlon and four-man bobsled titles on Saturday, making it 11 golds in total. After finishing second to Norway in the 2002 Games, Germany is set to top the Turin Games with one day and two events to go.


South Korea continued to dominate short track speed skating with two more golds. Its haul of six golds, all by short trackers, has put the nation in sixth place overall.


The day augured well for Germany as its top skier Michael Greis emerged from King Ole's shadow to win the 15km biathlon mass start in the morning.


The German entered his final shooting stage still trailing five-time Olympic gold medalist Ole Einar Bjoerndalen. When Bjoerndalen missed two targets and Greis shot clean, Greis surpassed his Norwegian rival and became the first three-time gold medalist at the Turin Games.


The 29-year-old German finished 6.3 seconds ahead of runner-up Tomasz Sikora of Poland and 12.3 in front of Bjorerndalen, who added a bronze to three silvers.


Germany, led by Andre Lange, claimed the four-man bobsled gold in 3:40.42, beating Russia and Switzerland into second and third places.


On the day when the International Olympic Committee set up a special panel to probe into an Austrian doping scandal, Austria clinched an emphatic victory in the men's slalom.


Benjamin Raich, who won giant slalom last week, clocked 1:43.14to lead teammates Reinfried Herbst and Rainer Schoenfelder to a clean sweep of the podium.


The three-men panel appointed by IOC President Jacques Rogge will look into equipment and drugs confiscated by Italian police during the joint raids to the living quarters of Austrian biathletes and cross country skiers last week.


Despite doping saga, Austria has bagged nine golds in Turin, its biggest gold tally in any winter Olympics.


Sweden's Anna Carin Olofsson won her country's first ever gold in women's biathlon after taking the 12.5km sprint.


Cheered on by Swedish king Carl Gustaf, the 32-year-old missed just one target -- securing the title in a time of 40 minutes 36.5seconds.


German three-time Olympic champion Kati Wilhelm finished 18.8 seconds behind to take the silver. The 35-year-old German Uschi Disl clinched the bronze, her ninth Olympic medal.


At the last long-track speed skating event, Canadian Clara Hughes clocked 6:59.07 for the women's 5,000m gold, with Claudia Pechstein of Germany and Cindy Klassen of Canada picking silver and bronze.


South Korea short track speed skaters Jin Sun-yu and Ahn Hyun-soo became triple gold medalists on Saturday.


Jin clocked 1:32.859 to add the women's 1,500m gold to 1,000m and 3,000m relay golds. Chinese Wang Meng and Yang Yang finished second and third.


Less than 20 minutes after losing the men's 500m crown, Ahn Hyun-soo completed his hat-trick as he led South Korea to the 5,000m top honor in an Olympic record of 6:43.376.


Canada took the silver and the United States the bronze.


American Apolo Anton Ohno won the 500m gold in 41.935 seconds, beating Francois-Louis Tremblay of Canada into second and Ahn into third.


The Turin Olympics will end with the men's 50km cross country skiing and the men's ice hockey final between Sweden and Finland on Sunday.


(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2006)

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