Mikaela Shiffrin extends historic slalom winning streak

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Make it three wins in three days for Mikaela Shiffrin, and 15 wins in her last 15 slalom starts. Oh yeah, she’s sick, too.

The world’s hottest skier topped the World Cup field in Semmering, Austria, by .64 of a second over two runs on Thursday. The Sochi Olympic slalom champion followed up giant slalom victories on Tuesday and Wednesday in Semmering.

Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second, followed by Swiss Wendy Holdener. Shiffrin led Zuzulova by .09 after the first run but had fallen .33 behind the Slovak in the second before making up nearly a second in the final 20 seconds of the course.

“Every gate I thought I was giving it away, but I was starting to fight,” she said.

Shiffrin had screamed after recent victories, but this time she put her glove to her mouth in apparent disbelief. Shiffrin called Thursday’s win her toughest of the this week’s triple.

“The past races, it’s been mostly nerves when I get to the start, but I don’t know what’s happening and all of a sudden I feel really, really sick,” she said. “Today, actually, I am sick. And the past two days I’ve been sick. So I wasn’t sure if I was sick like I have the flu or if I was sick because of nerves. It was a weird thing today. I was OK for my run, for the second half of my run, so it’s good.”

RESULTS | RUN 2 REPLAY

Shiffrin has now won her last 15 slalom starts, including her last 12 World Cup slalom starts, the longest women’s streak in any World Cup discipline in history. Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell won 11 straight downhills from 1972-74. Shiffrin also bagged a world title and two national titles during her unbeaten run.

A caveat: Shiffrin missed five World Cup slaloms last season due to a knee injury. Since that absence, Shiffrin has won seven straight World Cup slaloms, which is one shy of the consecutive slaloms record shared by Croatian Janica Kostelic and Swiss Vreni Schneider.

Shiffrin can match those legends in the next World Cup race, a slalom in Zagreb on Tuesday (NBCSN and NBCSports.com/live, 10 a.m. ET). Shiffrin won the last two times the Zagreb race was held in 2013 and 2015.

Big picture, Shiffrin boosted her World Cup overall standings lead to 215 points over Swiss Lara Gut through 15 of a scheduled 37 races. She has six wins this season, the most by one skier in a campaign before New Year’s Day since Bode Miller in 2004.

Shiffrin has downplayed talk of going for the overall title — she even skipped speed races earlier this month — but she could become the third U.S. woman to take the biggest annual crown in ski racing (Tamara McKinneyLindsey Vonn).

MORE: Bode Miller plans to race next season, U.S. coach says

Gus Kenworthy’s hard crash dents Olympic double hope (video)

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Gus Kenworthy‘s goal of making the Olympic team in two events may have disintegrated as he tumbled to the bottom of the halfpipe in Mammoth Mountain, Calif., on Friday night.

He crashed on the lip of the pipe on his last run to finish ninth at the fifth and final Olympic ski halfpipe qualifier. Kenworthy needed at least a runner-up to automatically qualify for PyeongChang.

Kenworthy is still very likely to make the Olympic ski slopestyle team for a second straight time, but he wanted to be the first American to contest slope and pipe at the Games. That’s likely gone.

What we know: The three automatic Olympic halfpipe spots went to Sochi gold medalist David Wise, fellow Sochi Olympian Torin Yater-Wallace and first-time Olympian Alex Ferreira.

U.S. Ski & Snowboard can add a fourth man to the team via discretionary selection. It’s unlikely to be Kenworthy based on qualifying results. Kenworthy ranks sixth in the standings overall.

The man with the best credentials is Aaron Blunck, a Sochi Olympian and reigning X Games champ who made two podiums among the five selection events.

Another strong option is Kyle Smaine, the surprise winner of the fifth and final qualifier Friday night. But Smaine doesn’t have a finish better than seventh from the other four qualifiers.

Kenworthy has two ski slopestyle qualifiers Saturday and Sunday in Mammoth, after which the Olympic team will be named.

He is stronger in slopestyle than halfpipe, earning silver in Sochi and at the 2017 World Championships in the former. Kenworthy missed the Sochi team in halfpipe.

In women’s ski halfpipe on Friday, Devin Logan and Brita Sigourney joined Sochi gold medalist Maddie Bowman on the Olympic team.

Sigourney won the fifth and final Olympic selection event with a 91.20-point run, edging Bowman (89.80) and Logan (83.80).

Logan, the Sochi ski slopestyle silver medalist, is very likely to make the Olympic team in both halfpipe and slopestyle, which no man or woman did in Sochi.

One more discretionary Olympic women’s halfpipe spot could be awarded, likely to Sochi Olympian Annalisa Drew or Carly Margulies, who both missed the podium Friday night.

U.S. Olympic Qualifying Standings
Ski Halfpipe 
(through five of five events)
Three skiers can auto qualify per gender; up to four named to Olympic team
1. David Wise — 200** QUALIFIED
2. Alex Ferreira — 180** QUALIFIED
3. Torin Yater-Wallace — 160** QUALIFIED

4. Aaron Blunck — 140** (2nd and 3rd)
5. Kyle Smaine — 136* (1st and 7th)
6. Gus Kenworthy — 116* (2nd and 7th)

1. Brita Sigourney — 180** QUALIFIED
2. Maddie Bowman — 160** QUALIFIED

3. Devin Logan — 140** QUALIFIED

4. Annalisa Drew — 95 (4th and 5th)
5. Carly Margulies — 90 (4th and 6th)
**Has automatic qualifying minimum of two top-three results.
*Has one top-three result.

Mammoth Finals (all times Eastern)
Friday

Ski Halfpipe — 9:30-11 p.m. (NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app)

Saturday
Ski Slopestyle (#1) — 12:30-2 p.m. (NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app)
Snowboard Slopestyle — 5-6 p.m. (NBC, NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app)
Snowboard Halfpipe — 9:30-11 p.m. (NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app)

Sunday
Ski Slopestyle (#2) — 4:30-6 p.m. (NBCSports.com/live, NBC Sports app)

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VIDEO: Shaun White scores perfect 100 to qualify for Olympics

Christian Coleman breaks world indoor 60m record (video)

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Christian Coleman is the fastest man of all time — indoors.

The 21-year-old U.S. sprinter broke the world indoor 60m record by clocking 6.37 seconds at his first meet of 2018 in South Carolina on Friday night.

Maurice Greene, the 2000 Olympic 100m champion, held the previous record of 6.39, which he clocked in 1998 and 2001.

The record must still go through ratification procedures, which requires a drug test at the meet.

The 60m is the indoor equivalent of the outdoor 100m. They are the shortest sprints contested at their respective world championships.

Coleman, a 4x100m prelim relay runner at the Rio Olympics, has blossomed into arguably the early 2020 Olympic 100m favorite.

He most memorably clocked a 40-yard dash of 4.12 seconds last spring, which is one tenth faster than the NFL Combine record.

Then in August, Coleman took 100m silver behind Justin Gatlin at the world outdoor championships, beating Usain Bolt in the Jamaican’s final individual race.

There are no world outdoor championships this year, but Coleman could go for the world indoor 60m title in Birmingham, Great Britain, in March.

Coleman’s mark is the first men’s world record in an event contested at a world championships since Wayde van Niekerk broke Michael Johnson‘s 400m world record at the Rio Olympics.

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