American Spillane finishes seventh in sprint

Updated: March 5, 2004, 7:42 PM ET
Associated Press

LAHTI, Finland -- Finland's Hannu Manninen won the overall World Cup title in Nordic combined on Friday with one event left.

He finished third in a sprint at the Lahti Ski Games, a competition won by Japan's Daito Takahashi. Takahashi led after the ski jump and beat Felix Gottwald of Austria by 1.1 seconds, with Manninen 8.1 seconds back. Johnny Spillane of the United States was seventh.

Manninen needed to finish only 17th place to clinch the title ahead of Germany's Ronny Ackermann, the two-time defending overall champion.

Manninen, one of the top skiers, started five seconds ahead of Ackermann after the ski jumping, won by Takahashi with a 122.5-meter jump.

Manninen, the runner-up in 1999 and fourth last year, has 1,342 points and Ackermann 1,121. Samppa Lajunen, another Finn, is third with 998.

Todd Lodwick of the United States is seventh in the standings. He has a slight the chance to match his best World Cup finish, fourth in 1998 and 2000.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press