Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin posts top-10 in Val d’Isere; Tina Weirather wins

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Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather was untouchable, while American Mikaela Shiffrin scored her third giant slalom top-10 this season in Val d’Isere, France, on Sunday.

Weirather upped her overall World Cup lead with her second win and sixth podium this season, posting a two-run time of 2 minutes, 24.10 seconds. Swiss Lara Gut was second, .73 behind, followed by Swede Maria Pietilae-Holmner.

Shiffrin improved from 12th after the first run to finish eighth.

“I was really tired coming from the U.S. to here, and I had to rethink how I was doing things, making sure I was getting my recoveries,” Shiffrin said, according to Agence France-Presse. “Before this race I actually got some rest, and I felt a lot better today, which just means that I have to ski faster. So it’s good and bad, but I’m very happy with a top-10.”

Shiffrin, 18, is the world’s best slalom skier but worked on improving her giant slalom in the offseason. In four giant slaloms this season, she’s finished sixth, second, DNF and eighth, putting her in the medal threat mix for Sochi.

“I’m really excited with where I’m taking my giant slalom right now,” Shiffrin said. “In training I’m skiing faster than in racing, so I have a lot of potential, but the trick is getting the training skiing into the races.”

Julia Mancuso, the 2006 Olympic giant slalom champion, failed to finish her second run after posting the 19th-fastest first run.

Gut dominated the World Cup circuit to start the season, but it’s been Liechtenstein’s Weirather who has taken control going into the holidays. She has finished second or better in at least one downhill, super-G and giant slalom this season.

Liechtenstein has not won an Olympic medal since 1988.

“Today was a very great day for me,” Weirather said, according to AFP. “It feels awesome for me to get a first win in the giant slalom.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Lienz, Austria, on Saturday.

Val d’Isere Giant Slalom
1. Tina Weirather (LIE) 2:24.10
2. Lara Gut (SUI) 2:24.83
3. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) 2:25.05
4. Federica Brignone (ITA) 2:25.21
5. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 2:25.26
6. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (SWE) 2:25.27
7. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 2:25.28
8. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:25.57
9. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 2:25.74
10. Kajsa Kling (SWE) 2:25.79
26. Megan McJames (USA) 2:27.97
DNF. Julia Mancuso (USA)

Ligety beaten, career best for another American

Sochi gold medalist Jamie Anderson makes another Olympics

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Jamie Anderson was the first U.S. slopestyle snowboarder to qualify for Sochi. She’s now the first slopestyle snowboarder to qualify for PyeongChang.

Anderson hopes she also repeats her Olympic result, another gold medal in February.

Anderson won the first of five PyeongChang qualifiers last February and was the top American in the third contest Saturday in Breckenridge, Colo.. She became the first of a likely four women to make the U.S. Olympic team in slopestyle/big air.

Big air is a new Olympic event, but Anderson’s signature is slope. In addition to winning its Olympic debut, she earned a medal at 12 of the last 13 X Games.

Four years ago, Anderson qualified for the Olympics as the two-time reigning X Games champ. She hasn’t won an X Games since, though, taking four straight silvers.

So the Olympic favorite is up for debate.

The medal conversation also includes countrywomen Julia Marino and Hailey Langland, who will likely qualify for their first Olympics at the next selection events in January.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Slopestyle/Big Air 
(through two of five events)
1. Red Gerard — 1400*
2. Chris Corning — 1200*
3. Chandler Hunt — 1160*
4. Kyle Mack — 1000*
5. Judd Henkes — 1000

1. Jamie Anderson — 1800* (1st and 2nd)
2. Julia Marino — 1600* (3rd and 1st)
3. Hailey Langland — 1300* (2nd and 4th)
4. Jessika Jenson — 1050 (5th and 3rd)
5. Ty Walker — 900
*Has automatic qualifying minimum of one top-three result.

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Breckenridge Finals (all times Eastern)
Friday
Men’s Ski Halfpipe — 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Women’s Ski Halfpipe — 12:45-1:30 p.m.
Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe — 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe — 4:15-5 p.m.

Saturday
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle — 11-11:45 a.m.
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle — 12:15-1:30 p.m.
Men’s Ski Slopestyle — 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Women’s Ski Slopestyle — 4:15-5 p.m.

Lindsey Vonn wins 78th World Cup race (video)

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Lindsey Vonn‘s latest comeback victory, one that reinvigorated her Olympic medal hopes, came at the venue where her Olympic bid died four years ago.

Vonn overcame early season back and knee troubles to win her 78th World Cup race — and first in nearly 11 months — a super-G in Val d’Isere, France on Saturday. NBCSN will air coverage at 5 p.m. ET.

“I guess I’m not a washed-up old hag,” Vonn said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “I think I proved myself, and karma definitely comes back around. I’ve got some good karma coming my way.”

She prevailed by .31 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia and .39 over Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel. Vonn has won World Cups here six times before, earning cows as prizes.

Vonn put in a scare, nearly skiing out at the bottom of the course, but let out her usual victory screams in the finish area and grabbed a TV camera, repeating, “Yes!”

Full Results

Vonn is now eight victories shy of the record she covets — retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s 86 career World Cup wins. She has said she hopes to break the record by the end of next season, after which she may retire.

First, her Olympic return in PyeongChang, four years after missing Sochi. The final straw came at this French resort in December 2013, where Vonn skied out with MCL and joint damage on top of a previous ACL tear.

Vonn’s PyeongChang medal hopes rode a roller coaster the last year.

A broken arm in a Nov. 10, 2016 crash. A win in her second race back in January, plus podiums at the world championships and at the Olympic venue in February and March.

Then a crash and a fall in two of her first three speed races this season. And last Saturday’s back injury and the images of being helped to walk with supporting poles in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

She withdrew from Sunday’s race — which was eventually canceled due to weather — flew to Austria and received therapy.

“It was mentally challenging to overcome that and be able to trust myself and push myself, even though I’m maybe not moving as well as I normally do,” Vonn said, adding that her back loosened up Saturday after the first few gates. “That’s been the biggest thing the last few weeks is just keep going, keep fighting, keep trying, keep picking yourself back up.

“I knew that the results would come eventually, but the important thing was just to continue to be tough.”

Vonn’s dad was waiting for her in his first visit to Val d’Isere.

“It was really cute when he was crying in the finish,” she said.

There was reason to doubt Vonn at age 33, given her extensive injury history. Only one woman has won a World Cup race at a more advanced age — Austrian Elisabeth Goergl in 2014.

Now, she has two months to stay healthy before the Olympic speed races, where she is a medal favorite in the downhill and super-G.

“I’m back on track,” she said. “[This win] proves what I already knew, that my skiing is good.”

First up is another World Cup super-G in Val d’Isere on Sunday (4:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

World Cup overall leader Mikaela Shiffrin is skipping this weekend’s races to prepare for upcoming slaloms and giant slaloms.

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MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Val d’Isere Super-G
1. Lindsey Vonn (USA) — 1:04.86
2. Sofia Goggia (ITA) — +.31
3. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR) — +.39
8. Laurenne Ross (USA) — +.97
22. Alice McKennis (USA) — +1.62
24. Alice Merryweather (USA) — +2.03
34. Stacey Cook (USA) — +2.63
38. Breezy Johnson (USA) — +2.86
45. Julia Mancuso (USA) — +5.56
DNF. Jackie Wiles (USA)