Mary Cain

Mary Cain wins World Junior Championships 3000m (video)

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Mary Cain showed veteran savvy to notch the biggest international victory of her young career, sprinting past two Kenyans to win the 3000m at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday night.

Cain, 18 and the youngest American to make a senior World Championships team last summer, appeared boxed in with 200m to go but found an opening with about 120m left and sprinted to win in a personal best 8 minutes, 58.48 seconds. She won by 2.05 seconds.

“That was just such an amazing finish,” Cain told reporters while holding a fun size Twix bar. “That last 50 [meters], I just felt so good. I know you’re not really supposed to look up at the screen, but I was still looking up like, ‘Oh my gosh, I hope I’m in the lead.’ That last 50 was amazing with the crowd. There was nowhere else that they would have been that loud for me.”

Cain, a professional with the Nike Oregon Project, is the home headliner of the meet, evidenced by roars from an announced crowd of 8,112 at Hayward Field.

The recent Bronxville, N.Y., high school graduate overcame a physical race to better her winning time from the U.S. Junior Championships by 17 seconds.

“There was a lot of jostling,” Cain said, according to The Associated Press. “I know I’m supposed to keep running, but I kept saying, ‘I’m sorry!'”

Cain, who is entering her freshman year in the University of Portland honors program, has said she will race on the Diamond League circuit later when it picks up again in August.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career