SKIING

Mancuso shines in downhill training in prelude to World Cup competition

Showing signs of a big jump in form just in time for the Sochi Olympics, American skier Julia Mancuso led downhill training Wednesday ahead of four days of World Cup racing at Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy.

Mancuso, whose best finish this season in any event was 12th, clocked 1 minute, 38.87 seconds down the sunny Olympia delle Tofane course.

Johanna Schnarf of Italy was second and overall leader Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany was third.

Mancuso has always saved her best skiing for the Olympics. She won gold in the giant slalom at the 2006 Turin Games and took silver in downhill and super-combined in 2010 at Vancouver.

X GAMES

SNOWBOARDING: Shaun White is out again for the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo.

After making the trip to Aspen and even making a few practice runs, the 13-time X Games snowboarding titlist decided against competing this week.

He had originally said he was out, then changed his mind and entered. Then on Wednesday, he pulled out again.

According to White, the Aspen schedule wouldn’t allow him to train the way he wants to. He starts slopestyle qualifying Feb. 6, the day before the opening ceremonies.

GOLF

EUROPEAN TOUR: George Coetzee of South Africa needed just 21 putts to shoot an 8-under-par 64 for a one-shot lead on the opening day of the Qatar Masters at Doha, Qatar.

PREP SCHOOLS

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL: Torie St. Pierre scored 18 points and Becca Siegel added 17 and Maggie DuChene had 13 to lead Berwick Academy (12-1) in a 60-48 win over Middlesex School at Berwick.

FOOTBALL

PHILANTHROPY: The Harold Alfond Foundation made a $250,000 grant to the Maine chapter of the National Football Foundation to support youth and amateur football.

The fund that the grant is earmarked for has been renamed. It was formerly called the Coach Mac Fund, in honor of Richard “Dick” MacPherson, an Old Town native who coached the New England Patriots. Before that he was head coach at two universities – Massachusetts and Syracuse.

The fund will now be called the Richard MacPherson and John Huard Maine Football Fund. Huard, a Waterville native, was an All-American linebacker at the University of Maine and played for the Denver Broncos before enjoying a successful coaching career.

The fund will not only support amateur football, it will also award scholarships to selected college-bound scholar athletes who will be honored at the Maine chapter’s annual banquet in May.

– From staff and news services