Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin completes dominating World Cup slalom season (video)

Leave a comment

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

John Shuster, 30 pounds lighter, rallies for 4th Olympic curling berth

Leave a comment

John Shuster is going to a fourth Olympics. It’s one more chance to prove Urban Dictionary wrong.

Shuster, 30 pounds lighter since his second straight Olympic failure in Sochi, led a team that beat Heath McCormick‘s squad at the U.S. Olympic Trials finals in Omaha on Saturday night.

Shuster, Tyler GeorgeMatt Hamilton and John Landsteiner lost the opener of a best-of-three finals series on Thursday.

They came back to deliver in a pair of must-win games, 9-4 on Friday night and 7-5 on Saturday, after spending each day at the Omaha Zoo.

The new-look Shuster — leaner and, at least this weekend, clutch — would astonish those who know him by scenes at the last two Olympics.

After taking bronze in 2006 as a role player, he led the last two U.S. Olympic teams to 2-7 records in 2010 and in 2014. Last place in Vancouver, where he was benched after an 0-4 start. Next to last place in Sochi.

After the last Olympics, the former bartender from Chisholm, Minn., was left off USA Curling’s 10-man high performance team.

He took it as motivation to get in shape.

Shuster, a father of a 2- and a 4-year-old who once said, “If I don’t have pizza three or four times a week, I’m not happy,” now totes meal replacement shakes. He’s starting to enjoy Olympic lifting.

Shuster, George, Hamilton and Landsteiner, all absent from that USA Curling high performance list, formed their own team. They became Team USA in their first season together and represented the Stars and Stripes at worlds in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Their results — fourth, third and fifth —  marked the best string of U.S. men’s or women’s finishes at that level in a decade.

Shuster is set to join Debbie McCormick as the only Americans to curl at four Olympics. The sport was part of the first Winter Games in 1924, then absent as a medal sport until 1998.

“I don’t think it’s about the four Olympics for me,” Shuster said on NBCSN. “What this is about — and what I’m about — is getting my teammates to now. I have two new Olympians on this team, and I know how special that is.”

George, the 35-year-old vice skip for Shuster, led a team that lost to Shuster in the 2010 Olympic Trials final. The liquor store manager from Duluth, Minn., is going to his first Winter Games.

As is the 28-year-old Hamilton, whose younger sister qualified for PyeongChang earlier Saturday.

Landsteiner, a 27-year-old corrosion engineer, played with Shuster since 2011, including in Sochi.

Alternate Joe Polo can go 12 years between Olympic appearances after taking bronze on that Torino team.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. Winter Olympic Trials broadcast schedule

Katie Ledecky wins race by 54 seconds, breaks record

Getty Images
1 Comment

Katie Ledecky is back at Stanford and back to pulverizing distance races.

The sophomore and five-time Olympic champion won a 1,650-yard freestyle by 54.45 seconds at a meet at Texas A&M on Saturday night.

The runner-up was in a different heat; Ledecky won her heat by 1:02.16.

Ledecky lowered her own American record, clocking 15:03.31. She had the previous mark of 15:03.92 set last Nov. 20.

Ledecky had every swimmer lapped in the 25-yard pool before the halfway point and ended up lapping everyone twice.

The men also raced a 1,650 on Saturday. The winner clocked 15:18.95, which was 15.64 seconds slower than Ledecky’s time.

Full results are here.

The 1,650 is the longest race on the NCAA program, while the longest race at the Olympics and world championships is the 1500m.

The No. 2 woman all-time in the 1,650 is triple 2008 Olympic medalist Katie Hoff, a full 21.04 seconds slower.

Ledecky owns the 1500m world record, too, 13.4 seconds faster than any other woman in history.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Michael Phelps’ discussion with Katie Ledecky after 2017 Worlds