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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We already knew Katie Ledecky can beat the boys in practice, even an Olympic champion.
One of the many takeaways from this week’s Sports Illustrated profile of Ledecky is that she has beaten 11-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte in practice.
Ledecky and Lochte may rep different swim clubs — Ledecky in Washington, D.C., and Lochte in Charlotte — but they both take trips to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., for altitude training.
“She swims like a guy,” Lochte said after training with Ledecky in Colorado Springs in March, according to SI. “I’ve never seen a female swimmer like that. … Her times are becoming good for a guy. She’s beating me now, and I’m like, What’s going on?”
When Ledecky broke the women’s 1500m freestyle world record for the third time at the August 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, her time of 15:28.36 was .01 faster than Lochte’s 1500m free time at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials (one of the rare instances Lochte swam a 1500m free).
Ledecky has since re-broken the women’s 1500m free world record twice more, bringing it down to 15:25.48.
“I trained with her in Colorado once, and she made me look like I was stopping,” Lochte reportedly told media on his 31st birthday, Aug. 3 at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia. “She flew by me.”
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Athens Olympic softball champion Jennie Finch will manage the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent minor-league baseball team on Sunday and, reportedly, become the first woman to manage a men’s pro baseball team.
Finch, a pitcher, retired from softball in 2010, two years after her sport’s Olympic farewell in Beijing, where she and the U.S. took silver behind Japan.
Finch has been an advocate for softball’s return to the Olympics, which could happen in Tokyo 2020.
The International Olympic Committee is expected to decide in August if baseball and softball, among four other sports, will be added for the Tokyo Games.
Finch, who is married to former MLB pitcher Casey Daigle, is also known for having struck out Albert Pujols.
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