Alberto Tomba promised a medal at the World Alpine Skiing Championships. Instead, he delivered two.
Tomba won his second gold medal in three days, rallying from a .81-second deficit after the first run to win the slalom Sunday at Sierra Nevada, Spain.
"I suffered more for these wins than the Olympics. Compared to this the Olympics were easy," Tomba said.
Tomba, 29, had only a bronze medal to show for four previous trips to the World Championships. He promised a gold medal and wound up with two.
"This was one of my best races to go with Lillehammer and Albertville," Tomba said.
He won two golds at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, a gold and a silver at Albertville in 1992 and a silver at Lillehammer in '94.
"I concentrated on the World Championships this year, but I really did not hope to win two golds," said Tomba, who has 47 World Cup victories, including 32 in the slalom.
He was sixth after a cautious first run, trailing first-place Finn-Christian Jagge of Norway by nearly a second. Tomba dug in and was flawless on the second run, slashing down the steep, icy course in 50.24 seconds--the quickest time in the second leg--for a combined time of 1:42.26.
Mario Reiter of Austria was second in 1:42.57 and Michael Von Gruenigen of Switzerland was third in 1:42.81.
Tomba became only the third Italian to win two golds at the World Championships, joining Zeno Colo (1950) and Gustavo Thoeni (1974).
Pete Sampras took advantage of three double faults by Todd Martin, including two in the tiebreaker, to beat his occasional doubles partner, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), for the Kroger-St. Jude championship at Memphis, Tenn.
Sampras, who has won two consecutive tournaments, is 12-1 in matches this year. His only loss was to Mark Philippoussis last month at the Australian Open.
Martin struggled throughout the match, winning only 73% of his first serves. Fighting off a cold throughout the week, Martin asked for some Advil during the second set.
The two teamed up in doubles twice last year, helping the United States win the Davis Cup against Russia and winning at Queen's Club.
Michael Stich of Germany defeated Goran Ivanisevic, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5), to win the European Community Championships at Antwerp, Belgium, and end the Croat's winning streak at 14 matches.
Brenda Schultz-McCarthy, getting 16 aces off her booming serve, defeated Amanada Coetzer, 6-3, 6-2, to retain her title in the IGA Tennis Classic at Oklahoma City.
Iva Majoli of Croatia defeated defending champion Jana Novotna, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), to win the Essen Grand Prix at Essen, Germany.
Hale Irwin, playing all three rounds without a bogey, won the American Express Invitational seniors event at Sarasota, Fla., shooting an eight-under 64 and defeating Bob Murphy by five strokes.
Irwin's total of 19-under 197 was the lowest Senior PGA Tour score since last July's Ameritech Senior Open, also won by Irwin at 21-under.
In capturing his third seniors title, Irwin won $135,000. The payoff pushed Irwin, who joined the over-50 circuit in June, to more than $1 million in senior earnings in just 16 tournaments--faster than any senior player.
Dave O'Brien, athletic director at Long Beach State, is interviewing with Temple officials today for a similar position there. . . . The Detroit Lions and cornerback Corey Raymond have reached agreement on a three-year, $4.5 million contract. . . . Japan's Amateur Swimming Federation has doubled the penalty for competitors caught using steroids, adopting a four-year ban for first-time violators, the Kyodo News reported. . . . Maria Mutola of Mozambique took advantage of Karen Gydesen's fast early pace and broke her own world 1,000-meter indoor record with a time of 2 minutes, 31.23 seconds in the DN games at Stockholm, Sweden. . . . Kerry Saxby-Junna of Australia bettered her own world record for the women's 5-kilometer walk by almost four seconds at the Hobart Grand Prix track and field meet at Hobart, Australia. Saxby-Junna was timed at 20 minutes, 13.26 seconds. . . . The English Football Association is likely to punish Colombian soccer star Faustino Asprilla for elbowing and head-butting Manchester City's English international Keith Curle during Saturday's Manchester City-Newcastle game at London. . . . Ottavio Cinquanta, president of the International Skating Union, says his organization may consider limiting the number of appearances by its competitors in order to conserve the quality and integrity of the sport.