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Many 1998 Olympic champions won’t be defending their titles


The list of Olympic champions from 1998 who won’t be at Salt Lake City to defend their titles got a little longer last weekend.

Austrian double gold medalist Hermann Maier won’t be able to defend his super G and GS titles because he is still recovering from his motorcycle accident last summer.

Whistler’s Ross Rebagliati, the first Olympic snowboard champion, has retired from competition, as has German downhill champion Katja Seizinger, Italian GS champion Deborah Compagnoni and French downhill champion Jean Luc Cretier.

Last weekend American mogul legend Jonny Moseley, the 1998 Olympic champion, and finished ninth in the U.S. Ski Team Gold Cup freestyle event at Park City. Travis Mayer won the men’s moguls event, and with it the automatic Olympic berth.

Moseley isn’t completely out of the Olympic picture but his results have been indifferent this season. He has only four World Cup events left in which to qualify for the Games.

Still, Moseley is pushing the limits. He dazzled the crowd at Park City with a new jump he calls The Dinner Roll. His skis come very close to going above his head, which is a violation of the freestyle rules. He said he came up with the new jump because "I was getting bored with everything. It doesn’t give me any adrenaline to go out there and do the same old stuff.

"Shouldn’t this Olympics have something better?"

Shannon Bahrke, of Tahoe City, California, won the women’s moguls event at Park City. In claiming the automatic Olympic berth Bahrke dealt a blow to 1992 Olympic mogul champion Donna Weinbrecht’s hopes of appearing in a fourth straight Olympics. Weinbrecht wound up fourth.

Eric Bergoust, the 1998 Olympic aerials champion, took the Gold Cup aerials title, defeating teammate Joe Pack. Emily Cook won the women’s event.

An estimated 20,000 people were on hand at the Olympic freestyle facilities in Park City to watch the Gold Cup event.

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