Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin finishes 12th in final race of season

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Mikaela Shiffrin must wait until next season to check off that next goal.

The 19-year-old Olympic slalom champion finished 12th in the World Cup Finals giant slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on Sunday. It marked the last race of the season.

Shiffrin, who won her fifth slalom race of the campaign Saturday, was fourth after the first of two giant slalom runs Sunday. She dropped in the second run, finishing .95 of a second behind Austrian winner Anna Fenninger.

“I was trying hard, maybe a little too hard,” Shiffrin said. “But it was still a fun race.”

The Olympic super-G champion Fenninger, 24, won the giant slalom season title three days after clinching her first World Cup overall title.

In addition to her repeat slalom title, Shiffrin completed her season seventh in the World Cup giant slalom standings and sixth in the overall standings. She was 19th in the giant slalom and sixth in the overall last year.

Shiffrin had second- and third-place finishes in giant slalom races this season but is still looking for that first GS win to add to her nine slalom victories. She said before Sunday that breakthrough GS win is her next goal.

Her season is not finished, however. Shiffrin is expected to race at the U.S. Championships in Squaw Valley, Calif., this week.

“I’m going to keep attacking the GS and see what else I can come up with for next year,” Shiffrin said. “I improved a lot since last season.”

Fenninger finished her season on a tear, winning her fourth straight giant slalom race. She’s the youngest women’s World Cup overall champion since Lindsey Vonn won her second title in 2009.

Fenninger passed German Maria Hoefl-Riesch for the overall title in Lenzerheide.

Hoefl-Riesch, 29, crashed in the downhill Wednesday and had to be helicoptered off the course, ending her season. She still finished in the top three of the overall standings for a seventh straight year.

Lenzerheide Giant Slalom
1. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 2:01.28
2. Eva-Maria Brem (AUT) 2:01.53
3. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (SWE) 2:01.61
4. Nadia Fanchini (ITA) 2:01.86
5. Lara Gut (SUI) 2:01.89
6. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) 2:01.90
7. Anemone Marmottan (FRA)
8. Dominique Gisin (SUI) 2:01.94
9. Federica Brignone (ITA) 2:02.01
10. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER) 2:02.04
12. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:02.23

Final World Cup Giant Slalom Standings
1. Anna Fenninger (AUT) — 518
2. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (SWE) — 492
3. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) — 339
7. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) — 257

Final World Cup Overall Standings
1. Anna Fenninger (AUT) — 1,371
2. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) — 1,180
3. Lara Gut (SUI) — 1,101
4. Tina Maze (SLO) — 964
5. Tina Weirather (LIE) — 943
6. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) — 895
7. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) — 647
8. Elisabeth Goergl (AUT) — 640
9. Nicole Hosp (AUT) — 575
10. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) — 534

Hirscher adds slalom globe to overall title

What to watch at Drake Relays, Penn Relays

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Olympic gold medalists ramp up their track and field seasons at the Penn Relays and Drake Relays, live on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold this weekend.

Athletes are working toward the U.S. Championships in June and the world championships in August.

First, the historic Penn Relays will air on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold on Friday (5:30-6:30 p.m. ET) and Saturday (12:30-3 p.m. ET).

USA vs. The World in men’s and women’s 4x100m, 4x400m and sprint medley relays will air live on Saturday from Franklin Field in Philadelphia. A full schedule is here.

The U.S. teams are led by Olympic relay champions English Gardner and Natasha Hastings. The full roster is here.

Rio Olympic rematches highlight the individual-event fields at the Drake Relays in Des Moines on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold from 3-5 p.m ET on Saturday. A full schedule is here.

Perhaps no field is deeper than the 100m hurdles. World-record holder Keni Harrison takes on Rio silver and bronze medalists Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali, plus 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper-Nelson.

The 110m hurdles contingent is strong as well. It features the last two Olympic champions, Jamaican Omar McLeod and American Aries Merritt, plus 2013 World champion David Oliver.

Grenada’s Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt, who earned silver and bronze in Rio, go head-to-head again in the 400m at Drake.

The men’s 1500m is headlined by Rio Olympic 800m bronze medalist Clayton Murphy and London Olympic 1500m silver medalist Leo Manzano.

Rio bronze medalist Jenny Simpson races individually for the first time this year in the women’s 1500m.

That field also includes New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin, who gained fame of her own in Rio. Hamblin and American Abbey D’Agostino fell in an Olympic 5000m heat and helped each other make it to the finish line. Both were praised for their sportsmanship.

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IOC president unsure whether esports should be considered sport

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Esports are gaining momentum in the international sports movement, but they are not close to becoming an Olympic sport.

“We are not yet 100 percent clear whether esports is really sport, with regard to physical activity and what it needs to be considered sport,” IOC president Thomas Bach said Tuesday, according to insidethegames. “We do not see an organization or a structure that will give us confidence, or guarantee, that in this area the Olympic rules and values of sport are respected and in place, and that the implementation of these rules are monitored and secured.”

The first clear step (of many) to become an Olympic sport is for the IOC to recognize the sport’s international governing body.

Esports will be added as a medal sport to the Asian Games in 2022, and has been praised by LA 2024 Olympic bid chairman Casey Wasserman, but it is not yet IOC recognized.

“We are watching it, we see the differences, we see the lack of organisation,” Bach said, according to the report. “But we also see the high engagement of youth in esports. Therefore, we have to carefully consider how this could be consolidated.”

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