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

WATCH LIVE: World Cup men’s downhill – 1:30 p.m. ET

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Before missing the downhill World Cup last year due to injury, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the title in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Today, he may become just the eighth man to win this World Cup title at least three times, but he faces competition from countryman Kjetil Jansrud, who won last year’s title in Svindal’s absence.

The World Cup men’s  downhill at Lake Louise is streaming today at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

MORE: Men’s apline skiing season preview

Hanyu, Miyahara into Grand Prix Final with wins at NHK Trophy

Yuzuru Hanyu
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Yuzuru Hanyu won the NHK Trophy in front of a home crowd in Japan in spectacular fashion – setting three world records – and qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the process.

He followed up his short program world record with a record setting free skate of 216.07 and a combined overall score record of 322.40.

China’s Boyang Jin finished second overall followed by Japan’s Takahito Mura. The U.S. Grant Hochstein finished fourth after an eighth-place finish in the short program.

Though the results are still unofficial, the men’s field in Barcelona will likely include no U.S. men, a streak that has continued since 2012. Max Aaron is eighth in the standings, but would be invited if he finished seventh overall. More on that the qualifying process here.

MORE: Fernandez into final with Rostelecom win

Japan’s Satoko Miyahara took the ladies’ competition over the U.S.’ Courtney Hicks, who finished second in her first career Grand Prix circuit medal, and countrywoman Mao Asada, who finished third.

Ashley Wagner was fourth, the lowest place she could have to give her a berth to Barcelona. Wagner has earned a medal at every Grand Prix Final since 2012 (silver in 2012, and bronzes in 2013 and 2014).

Again, the overall standings are unofficial, but Miyahara, Asada, and Wagner should join Gracie Gold, Evgenia Medvedeva, and Elena Radionova in the Grand Prix Final.

Russia finished off the podium entirely in the ladies’ field – Alena Leonova and Anna Pogorilaya finished eitghth and ninth while Maria Artemieva finished 11th.

The last time no Russian women were on a Grand Prix podium – the final or otherwise – was in the 2012-13 season, where it happened a handful of times. Russian women have been featured on every Grand Prix circuit podium since the 2012-13 season, where they only missed out on Skate Canada, the Rostelecom Cup, the NHK Trophy, and the Grand Prix Final from that season. Names like Olympic gold medalists Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaya, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Elena Radionova, Pogorilaya, Leonova, and 2015 world junior champion Evgenia Medvedeva all contributed to that streak.

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U.S. pairs champions Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim earned a trip to Barcelona with a bronze medal in Japan. Leading the field in their ninth straight international win was Canadian pair Meaghan Duhamel and Eric Radford followed China’s Yu Xiaoyu and Jin Yang.