Alpine skiing-Austria win gold in mixed team, Shiffrin's US miss out

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YANQING, China, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Austria won gold in the Alpine skiing mixed team parallel event on Sunday, beating Germany in the final, while Mikaela Shiffrin will leave the Beijing Olympics without a medal after the United States lost to Norway in the third-place race.

Both the gold and bronze medal races were decided on combined times after finishing 2-2.

Shiffrin, who competed in all five individual events, had been hoping to leave with at least a medal from the team event but she lost three straight races as her team ended fourth.

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The American had failed to finish in three of her five individual races at the Games - giant slalom, slalom and combined - but she said she had enjoyed the team contest.

"I am not disappointed. I have had a lot of disappointing moments at these Games, today is not one of them. Today is my favourite memory," she told reporters.

"This was the best possible way that I could imagine ending the Games, skiing with such strong team mates."

The format featured four races - two men's and two women's - with the contests decided by the combined best two times of each team if the score finished level.

The team event, in only its second edition after being introduced at Pyeongchang in 2018, had been rescheduled from Saturday after heavy winds forced a postponement.

The winds were still high on Sunday and temperatures sub-zero with skiers huddled under blankets in the finish area while watching their team mates race.

In the semi-finals, Austria beat Norway on times while Germany defeated the United States 3-1.

The Austrian team was made up of Katharina Huber, Katharina Liensberger, Katharina Truppe, Stefan Brennsteiner, Michael Matt and Johannes Strolz.

Strolz, who lost his place in the Austrian Alpine squad last year and had to work as a policeman while he kept his career going, leaves Beijing with two golds, including his victory in the men's combined as well as a silver in slalom.

"It is really amazing," said team mate Liensberger, "To ski together with him in the team event has been great. He gave a really amazing performance at this Olympics.

"He had a really hard time, he didn't know if he would even get to the Olympics. He prepared his skis on his own and he is a really good example to never give up. I am so happy it has turned out like this for him," she added.

In Pyeongchang, Austria won silver behind Switzerland. The Swiss, who won five individual Alpine skiing gold medals, were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

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Reporting by Simon Evans, additional reporting by Simon Jennings and Shadia Nasralla, Editing by Peter Rutherford

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