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Mikaela Shiffrin wins 12th straight slalom, second reindeer

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Mikaela Shiffrin continued her run of historic dominance, winning her 12th straight slalom race in the World Cup discipline season opener on Saturday. She also won a reindeer.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion, prevailed by .67 of a second after two runs over Swiss Wendy Holdener in Levi, Finland. Slovakia’s Petra Vhlova was third. Full results are here.

“I’m not unbeatable, I can tell you that,” 21-year-old Shiffrin said. “I think that a lot of these girls know that, and they’re shooting to be the first to beat me. Every race I have to be faster. It’s certainly not a comfortable position.”

Shiffrin has won 12 straight slaloms dating to 2015, including her last nine World Cup slaloms, the longest streak since four-time Olympic champion Janica Kostelic won 10 straight from 1999 through 2001.

However, Shiffrin missed five slaloms in the middle of last season due to a right knee injury.

“I don’t feel like [the full streak] counts because I missed half the season last year,” said Shiffrin, who won her 20th career World Cup slalom Saturday. “There were other winners. I think my streak starts after I came back from injury.”

The traditional winner’s prize in Levi is a reindeer. When Shiffrin won here in 2013, she named hers “Rudolph.” This year, she named it Sven, after the “Frozen” character.

“It would be nice to get Rudolph a buddy!” Shiffrin said earlier this week, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “No reindeer likes to be alone.”

Levi marked the second of a scheduled 37 women’s World Cup races this season. Shiffrin, who finished second to defending champion Lara Gut in the season-opening giant slalom three weeks ago, moved to the top of the World Cup overall standings on Saturday.

Shiffrin and Gut appear to be the favorites for this year’s overall title, given previous overall champions Lindsey Vonn and Anna Veith are out with injuries.

Shiffrin said she spent about half as much time as usual training slalom in the offseason, focusing an increasing amount on giant slalom and the speed events.

The men race in Levi on Sunday (4 a.m. and 7 a.m. ET, NBC Sports app; 2 p.m. ET, UniHD).

The women next race in Killington, Vt., in two weeks with a giant slalom and slalom.

ALPINE SKIING SEASON PREVIEWS: Men | Women

After accident, Olympian Jamie Nieto walks at his wedding

Ramon Galindo/NBC San Diego
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After two-time Olympic high jumper Jamie Nieto suffered a spinal cord injury while attempting a standing back flip in April 2016, he decided to set a goal for himself. Nietro was determined to walk down the aisle at his own wedding.

On Saturday, July 22, 2017, Nieto walked to the altar in front of everyone gathered at Christ Temple Apostolic Church in east San Diego – something his doctors said might not be possible.

Nieto, with some assistance, entered the church where he then married his bride, Jamaican hurdler Shevon Stoddart, exactly how he set out to – on his feet.

Images courtesy of Ramon Galindo/NBC San Diego

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Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocates shoulder in Poland (video)

FIVB
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Five-time Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings dislocated her shoulder during the semifinals of a beach volleyball tournament in Poland and forfeited the bronze medal match.

Walsh Jennings and new partner Nicole Branagh were tied in the third set of their match against Canada on Saturday when Walsh Jennings dove for the ball with her right arm and twisted her hand in the sand. After a four-minute delay, Canada went on to win the third set 16-14 and advance to the gold medal match.

“I just went for a short dig and the surface in Europe is so shallow and so hard and there’s no give for our bodies,” Walsh Jennings explained after the match in an interview with her shoulder wrapped in ice.

Walsh Jennings had surgery on the same shoulder during the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics, where she and April Ross won the bronze medal. Walsh Jennings won three gold medals with Misty May Treanor.

Walsh Jennings said she is looking forward to returning to the FIVB World Tour in Vienna in one week.

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MORE: Kerri Walsh Jennings’ first choice for new partner said no