News flash: 17-year-old American skier Mikaela Shiffrin is freaking good.
Having won two of the last three World Cup slalom races ahead of Tuesday’s event in Flachau, Austria, Shiffrin made it three for four with another victory – by almost a full second.
German Maria Hoefl-Riesch was in first place after the first run, just over a half second faster than Shiffrin. But in her second trip down the hill, Shiffrin blazed down the course in 56.19 seconds to take the lead. Hoefl-Riesch then missed a gate near the bottom of the course and recorded a DNF, handing the victory to the speedy teenager.
Shiffrin now leads the World Cup slalom standings by more than 80 points over Slovenian Tina Maze.
Shiffrin was compared to Austrian Alpine legend Annemarie Moser-Proell on Tuesday because her slalom win occurred when she was 17 years, 308 days old – the same exact age as Moser-Proell was when she won her third event, a record. Moser-Proell won three Olympic medals (one gold, two silver) and four world championship titles during her career, which ended in 1980.
“She is way ahead of her age,” Austria’s technical head coach Guenter Obkircher told the Associated Press. “She races fast and has a very solid technique. And she has this youthful carefreeness.”
Shiffrin’s U.S. teammate Ted Ligety has also noticed her talent.
“She is a solid skier for sure,” Ligety said. “She has been so good the last few races and last year, too. She doesn’t seem like a 17-year-old when she’s on the hill.”
Shiffrin already had become the first American to win two World Cup races before turning 18. Now she’s the first American to win three races. And she recently picked up some famous Twitter followers. Not bad for a World Cup rookie.
GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — Bjorn Krupp’s journey started at the Duluth IceForum in suburban Atlanta.
Brooks Macek piled up the points in Bantam hockey in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the Notre Dame Hounds.
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Now they’re in the Olympic gold-medal game for Germany, having advanced further than the teams from their home countries. The U.S.-born Krupp and Canadian-born Macek have German fathers and now call Germany home with no apologies for beating or scoring against the countries of their birth.
When Macek scored a go-ahead power-play goal in what turned out to be a remarkable upset semifinal win against Canada, he pumped his fist and never felt conflicted about beating a team with the Maple Leafs on its jerseys.
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GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — They forged bonds from Riga to Cologne and in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
It’s all led Germany and the Russians to a David versus Goliath Olympic gold-medal game Sunday. Even though the Russians were favorites all along and expected to win gold in a tournament without NHL stars and Germany was a longshot to even reach the semifinals after not qualifying in Sochi, these two teams are more similar than they are different.
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Their familiarity and continuity is the biggest reason they’re facing off in the final.
Germany’s core group has been together through the Olympic qualification tournament and world championships and has played the same system for the past three years under coach Marco Sturm. The Russians’ 25-man roster is made up of 15 players from SKA St. Petersburg and eight from CSKA Moscow, the two best teams in the Kontinental Hockey League.
“That’s a big key to our success,” Germany defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said Saturday. “We were very familiar with each other. … (The Russians also) should be really familiar because almost everybody plays on the same teams in Russia.”
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