Mikaela Shiffrin has set a goal of winning a World Cup giant slalom. She hasn’t done that yet, but the 19-year-old notched her first U.S. Championship in the event Thursday.
Shiffrin, the Olympic, world and World Cup champion in slalom, prevailed in a two-run time of 2 minutes, 30.93 seconds in Squaw Valley, Calif.
She dusted the field by 1.88 seconds, including 2006 Olympic giant slalom champ Julia Mancuso and Canada’s best all-around skier, Marie-Michele Gagnon.
“This event was definitely a confidence booster,” Shiffrin said. “Even before coming into here, I knew what I had to do with my GS, what I needed to improve on. I kind of wanted to use this a test, to really see if it works. So far, it’s good.”
Shiffrin has won giant slalom races before, three times in lower-level Nor-Am Cups and once at a National Championships in Liechtenstein on Feb. 4, 2012. She made two World Cup giant slalom podiums this season, finished fifth at the Olympics and seventh in the World Cup standings.
In 2013, Shiffrin finished second to Mancuso in the National Championships giant slalom, also at Squaw Valley.
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In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.
The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.
The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.
Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.
NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.
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Tied with three seconds left, Alexander Lynggaard went for a gutsy shot from midcourt to win a French handball league match Thursday.
Watch the above video with no commentary, but check out the French commentary on the Instagram video from Lynggaard’s account below.
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