Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin wins World Cup slalom under the lights

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Mikaela Shiffrin reinforced her Olympic favorite status by winning her second straight World Cup slalom event and third this season in Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday night.

Shiffrin, 18, conquered the course in a two-run time of 1 minute, 45.83 seconds, beating Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter by .83. Another Swede, Maria Pietilae-Holmner, was third.

Shiffrin led by a comfortable .90 after the first run in the early evening.

“The first run I really let it go and gave myself a little bit of a cushion for the second run,” said Shiffrin, now a seven-time World Cup race winner and $59,000 richer. “But second run I had a couple moves where I kind of hit the rut. I was like, ‘No, just stay the course!’ So I’m really psyched.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a downhill and a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, on Saturday and Sunday. The last slalom before the Olympics is in Maribor, Slovenia, on Feb. 2, five days before the Opening Ceremony.

“It’s nice to sing my national anthem a couple of races before the Olympics,” Shiffrin said. “Hopefully, I can keep it going.”

Shiffrin’s gold medal hopes wavered in late December, when Austrian Marlies Schild won two straight World Cup slaloms.

The Austrian Schild was fourth after the first run Tuesday and fell in her second run to finish 26th.

Schild, 32, owns the record for most career World Cup slalom wins and won the World Cup season title four times in six years before suffering a major right knee injury in December 2012.

Shiffrin, who lists Schild as an idol, took the reins from Schild and won the World Championship in February.

The American is guaranteed to be leading the World Cup slalom standings going into the Olympics no matter the results in Maribor.

“If I’m a medal contender, then that just means that I’m going to try to contend for a medal,” Shiffrin said. “When my nana tells me that my ski racing is keeping her alive, I think that’s more pressure than any race.”

Flachau Slalom
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 1:45.83
2. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 1:46.66
3. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) 1:46.97
4. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1:47.23
5. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) 1:47.38
6. Nicole Hosp (AUT) 1:47.82
7. Nina Loeseth (NOR) 1:47.98
8. Kathrin Zettel (AUT) 1:47.99
8. Wendy Holdener (AUT) 1:47.99
10. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 1:48.01

Biathlete gives up spot on Olympic Team to twin sister

Simone Biles gets her own cereal box (photos)

Simone Biles
AP
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Simone Biles hasn’t qualified for the Olympics yet, but she’s already getting her own cereal box.

The three-time reigning World all-around champion was among five Team USA athletes announced as part of Kellogg’s pre-Rio campaign this week.

As part of it, Biles is on the cover of limited-edition Special K Red Berries and Corn Flakes cereal boxes released in June.

Biles is next expected to compete in the Secret U.S. Classic in Hartford, Conn., on June 4 from 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

After that comes the P&G Championships (June 24-26, St. Louis) and the U.S. Olympic Trials (July 8-10, San Jose), both on NBC Sports.

A full U.S. Olympic Trials schedule for all sports is available here.

VIDEO: Biles surprised with Efron leotard on ‘Ellen’

Simone Biles Simone Biles

Tara Lipinski, Johnny Weir visit Rio’s Carnival (video)

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Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir are used to performing in front of packed arenas, but they had never encountered anything like the Sambadrome.

NBC’s figure skating analysts visited Rio de Janeiro in February to taste the Olympic city ahead of the first Games in South America for “1st Look.”

They sampled cuisine and night life, played footvolley on one of the city’s famous beaches and took part in the famed Carnival.

They danced in costumes atop a float in front of some 100,000 people during the annual festival.

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