Tina Maze wins Olympic Giant Slalom

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Tina Maze wins Olympic Giant Slalom
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18: Tina Maze of Slovenia prepares to make a run during the Alpine Skiing Women's Giant Slalom on day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18: (FRANCE OUT) Tina Maze of Slovenia competes during the Alpine Skiing Women's Giant Slalom at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games at Rosa Khutor Alpine Centre on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze competes during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DIMITAR DILKOFF (Photo credit should read DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze makes a turn in the first run of the women's giant slalom at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia.(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18: Tina Maze of Slovenia reacts after a run during the Alpine Skiing Women's Giant Slalom on day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze reacts in the finish area during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze reacts in the finish area during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze reacts in the finish area during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18: Tina Maze of Slovenia celebrates after a run during the Alpine Skiing Women's Giant Slalom on day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze reacts in the finish area during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze reacts in the finish area during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze (R) celebrates with Austria's Anna Fenninger in the finish area during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN (Photo credit should read ALEXANDER KLEIN/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18: (L-R) Anna Fenninger of Austria, Tina Maze of Slovenia and Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany celebrate during the Alpine Skiing Women's Giant Slalom on day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 18: (L-R) Tina Maze of Slovenia, Anna Fenninger of Austria and Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany celebrate during the Alpine Skiing Women's Giant Slalom on day 11 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
Slovenia's Tina Maze (C) reacts in the finish area, next to Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg (R) and Austria's Anna Fenninger (L) during the Women's Alpine Skiing Giant Slalom Run 2 at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 18, 2014. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
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KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) -- Tina Maze earned her second gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Tuesday, winning from the front in a rainy and snowy giant slalom.

Wearing bib No. 1, Maze skied through the gates cleanly to defend her big first-run lead and finish 0.07 seconds ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria.

Defending champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was third, trailing 0.27 behind Maze's two-run time of 2 minutes, 36.87 seconds.

American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin placed fifth in her Olympic debut.

Maze celebrated by belly-flopping onto the snow and pretending to swim the breaststroke.

She added giant slalom gold in the rain to the tie for victory in a sunbathed downhill last week. The 30-year-old Maze also won giant slalom silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

After Maze, a further 44 lower-ranked skiers still had their second run. They included pop-classical violinist Vanessa-Mae, who raced for Thailand as Vanessa Vanakorn. She was the slowest of 74 first-run finishers, 26.98 seconds behind Maze, and was the scheduled last.

One absentee in the original 90-racer lineup was Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany, who skipped her weakest event because of a cold and breathing problems.

Hoefl-Riesch, the super-combined champion and super-G silver medalist, went to the course to warm up Tuesday but chose not to race. She is expected to defend her slalom title on Friday and challenge for a record-equaling fourth career Olympic gold in women's Alpine skiing.

Julia Mancuso, GS champion at the 2006 Turin Olympics, skied out midway down the last slope in her final event.

"That's a wrap for me here in Sochi. It's been inspiring! Thanks for all the support and Love! (hash)GoUSA!!! Now I get to celebrate my Bronze!!!," Mancuso, who got her medal in super-combined, wrote on her Twitter account.

Maze has been the most consistent women's skier at the Sochi Games. Mancuso edged her off the super-combined podium by just 0.10 seconds and she was fifth in super-G.

Her victory Tuesday recaptured her standout form in GS last season when she had top-three finishes in all 10 races, including a silver medal at the world championships.

Driving snow and sleet delayed the second run for nearly 15 minutes from its scheduled 1 p.m. (0900 GMT) start, though it slowed to a drizzle when the medal contenders raced.

Course workers scattered salt to firm the snow surface, which was already softened by days of sunshine.

The first run was completed in the morning despite persistent rain on lower sections and the first snowfall at the Sochi Olympics higher up.

Racers struggled to carve clean turns as their skis pushed the soft snow aside.

"It's like skiing on sugar," sixth-place finisher Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden said after the first run. "It's hard to ski the way you want to ski."

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