Fischbacher wins super-G as Slovenia protests

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Austrian Andrea Fischbacher unleashed the performance of her life on Saturday to win the women's super-G gold medal as organizers of the Vancouver Olympics faced fresh complaints about safety standards.

Questions about the safety at venues have dominated these Olympics since Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed a week ago and showed no signs of abating as the Games lurched toward the halfway stage.

Slovenia lodged an official protest on Saturday after their leading cross-country skier Petra Majdic broke four ribs when she fell in a gully three days ago.

Majdic defied doctors' orders and unbearable pain to win a bronze in the women's sprint classic, but was ruled out of the rest of the competition after x-rays confirmed how badly she was injured.

We have filed a protest with the IOC (International Olympic Committee), VANOC (Games organizers) and FIS (International Ski Federation) because we feel that conditions at the course were too dangerous in training, Slovenian team spokesman Branislav Dmitrovic told Reuters.

Circumstances on the course were completely different from the previous days. The course was icy and real fast and that caused some danger.

It was a terrible blow for Petra who is now out for the rest of the Olympics.

Slovenia's protest again overshadowed the on-course action, coming just moments after Fischbacher flashed down the Whistler mountain to win the first major title of her career.

The 24-year-old produced a flawless display in an event that incorporates the daredevil speeds of downhill with the technical requirements of giant slalom.

The pre-race favorite, American Lindsey Vonn, could only manage third place, adding a bronze to the gold she won in the downhill on Wednesday, as Slovenia's Tina Maze snatched the silver to provide some better news for her angry team officials.

Another row that had threatened to steal the spotlight from the competitors was at least averted on Saturday when Austria withdrew a threat to protest against the modified boot bindings worn by Swiss ski jumper Simon Ammann, the favorite to win Saturday's large hill final.

Slovenia's protest was just the latest in a series of squabbles that have combined to detract from a Winter Games that was starting to build real momentum.

The first few days of the Olympics were also marred by unseasonal bad weather but the return of crisp blue skies and some stunning performances by the competitors have turned everything around.

Initial pessimism has now given way to unbridled excitement as Canadians lead the increasingly wild celebrations both in downtown Vancouver and in the Whistler mountains.

Vonn, perhaps more than any other competitor at the Games, played a leading role in changing the mood when she defied injuries and a treacherous course to win the women's downhill.

She failed to win a medal in the super combined after risking all during the slalom leg and tumbling to the snow but collected a consolation bronze in the super-G.

The U.S. have already transformed Whistler mountain into their own winter playground, winning seven of the 15 medals in men's and women's events so far, to head the overall medals table with six golds and the prospect of more on Saturday.

Shani Davis is the favorite to win the men's 1500 meters speedskating gold after he successfully defended his 1000m title earlier in the week while Apolo Anton Ohno was chasing an even bigger milestone in the short track.

Ohno would become the most prolific American Winter Olympics medalist if he wins any medal in the men's 1000m, one of two short track medals on offer on Saturday. He is currently tied with Bonnie Blair on six Olympic medals.

Norway started the eighth full day of competition second on the medals table with five golds and could add to their total if world champion cross-country skier Petter Northug wins the grueling 30 kilometer pursuit, one of six events to be decided on the day.

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