Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin completes dominating World Cup slalom season (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin had already clinched the title, which made Saturday quite a victory lap.

The Olympic slalom champion won the last World Cup slalom race of the season at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, by a blowout margin of 1.44 seconds.

That’s about the same margin that separated second place from eighth.

Shiffrin, who turned 19 on Thursday, won her second straight crystal globe as the slalom champion, adding points from all eight races during the World Cup season.

That trophy will complement her Olympic and World Championship gold medals in the event she has come to own in a little over a year.

She proved that Saturday, taking a 1.57-second lead after the first of two runs and just about maintaining it in her second run to beat Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter by 1.44. Austrian Marlies Schild was third.

Shiffrin won her fifth World Cup slalom race of the season, more than any man or woman in one discipline this year, and became the first skier to score more than 600 World Cup points in any discipline this season. She won the season title by 150 points.

She won four slalom races last season when she won the season title by 33 points.

She said she skied with no pressure Saturday.

“I was really just trying to ski that I was having fun, show the world that it’s really fun to ski slalom,” Shiffrin said after receiving her crystal globe.

The Colorado native’s next goal is to win a World Cup giant slalom, which she has never done despite two podium finishes this season. She’ll get another chance in the final World Cup race of the season Sunday.

Next year could be even bigger for Shiffrin, who plans on adding super-G to her slalom and giant slalom, which could vault her into the overall title mix. The World Championships are in her hometown of Vail in February 2015.

Lenzerheide Slalom
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:04.54
2. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 2:05.98
3. Marlies Schild (AUT) 2:06.20
4. Kathrin Zettel (AUT) 2:06.22
5. Wendy Holdener (SUI) 2:06.24
6. Nicole Hosp (AUT) 2:06.65
7. Sarka Strachova (CZE) 2:06.86
8. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) 2:07.35
9. Chiara Costazza (ITA) 2:07.62
10. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 2:07.73

Final World Cup Slalom standings
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) — 638
2. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) — 488
3. Marlies Schild (AUT) — 385

Bode Miller plans to ski next season

Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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Maggie Nichols wins NCAA all-around title with perfect 10

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Even after a perfect 10 in the last rotation, Maggie Nichols didn’t know that she had won the NCAA all-around title. Her coach at Oklahoma, K.J. Kindler, had to tell her.

The reaction?

“Excitement,” Nichols said Friday night on ESPNU. “I just wanted to go out there and feel out the equipment, staying calm and doing my routines that I have been doing in training.”

Nichols, a 2015 World team champion who retired from elite gymnastics after missing the 2016 Olympic team (set back by a torn meniscus that year), became the first Sooner to win the NCAA all-around in 30 years.

The sophomore tallied 39.8125 points and topped Olympic alternate MyKayla Skinner of Utah by .0875 for the title in St. Louis. It came one year after Nichols was 29th in the all-around with a balance beam fall.

Oklahoma and Utah will be joined in Saturday night’s Super Six team finals by UCLA, LSU, Florida and Nebraska. The Sooners eye their third straight national title.

Nichols capped her night with one of two perfect scores between the two semifinal sessions, matching 2012 Olympic alternate Elizabeth Price‘s 10 on uneven bars. It gave Nichols a second career gym slam, a perfect score on every apparatus for the season.

On Jan. 9, Nichols came forward as “Athlete A,” who first reported to USA Gymnastics that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar in summer 2015.

“She has had a really unique year probably like no one else, and her strength showed through,” Kindler said Friday, according to the University of Oklahoma. “It was tough, and to come out on this side this year is really special.”

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