Tina Maze bids farewell in bizarre fashion; Mikaela Shiffrin misses podium

Leave a comment

Olympic champion Tina Maze sounded like she might keep racing on Thursday, but what transpired Saturday certainly looked like a farewell.

Maze stopped twice during a World Cup giant slalom run in her native Slovenia.

First, she halted to hug her coaches midway down the Maribor course.

Then, she screeched inches before the end, took off her skis and lifted them in the air as she twirled across the finish line on foot. She also tossed her goggles into the adoring crowd.

Maze would have finished nearly 30 seconds behind first-run leader Mikaela Shiffrin, but she was given a DNF, which could mark the end of her storied career. Unless Maze changes her mind, as she teased two days earlier.

Shiffrin ended up fourth after two runs, despite having the fastest first run by .07. The youngest Olympic slalom champion fell behind French winner Tessa Worley, Italian Sofia Goggia and Swiss rival Lara Gut after a slower second run.

“I’m still learning,” Shiffrin said, “so, all in all, it’s not a terrible day.”

RESULTS | RUN 2 REPLAY

Shiffrin had won two giant slaloms in Semmering, Austria, last week and was looking to cushion her World Cup overall lead over Gut.

Instead, Gut gained 10 points on Shiffrin, moving 205 points back after 17 of a scheduled 37 races. Shiffrin is ahead in part because the first half of the season includes more technical races — her favorite slaloms and giant slaloms — than speed races of downhill and super-G.

If Shiffrin and Gut repeat their average results for each discipline for the final 20 races, Gut will take the overall title by about seven points.

Shiffrin, 21, has downplayed talk of going for the overall title this season — she even skipped speed races in December — but she could become the third U.S. woman to take the biggest annual crown in ski racing (Tamara McKinneyLindsey Vonn).

Finally on Saturday, a rarity. Sabrina Simader became the first Kenyan to compete in a World Cup race.

Simader, an 18-year-old who reportedly moved to Austria at age 3, was last of the 61 finishers in the first run, 8.14 seconds behind Shiffrin, and didn’t qualify for the second run.

The women race a slalom in Maribor on Sunday.

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

U.S. boblsedders remembering Steve Holcomb

Getty Images
Leave a comment

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The memories are impossible to ignore. Justin Olsen sees him in the start house. Elana Meyers Taylor hears him on her track walks. Mentions of his name bring some members of the team to tears, and others still can’t fully open up about how difficult moving on has been.

NBCOlymipcs.com: 2018 U.S. Olympic bobsled team

It’s been nine months since Steven Holcomb died.

USA Bobsled is not over it, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Holcomb was the best bobsledder in U.S. history, and he was supposed to be at these PyeongChang Olympics for what likely would have been the final races of his career. Instead, the Americans will head to the start house at the Alpensia Sliding Center on Sunday for the first bobsled races of these games and face the nearly impossible task of doing as well as he would have done.

This season has been one struggle after another for the Americans. Nerves have been frayed all year. Results have been far from what the U.S. wanted or envisioned. Getting a third men’s sled to PyeongChang was a challenge until the final possible moment, something that certainly would not have been the case if Holcomb was still driving.

Read the rest of the story and watch live streams by clicking here 

Mikaela Shiffrin opens up on slalom disappointment

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The day after an winning an Olympic gold in the women’s the giant slalom, Shiffrin was widely expected to defend her gold medal in the slalom.

Shiffrin, failed to do so, finishing in fourth position. In what she considered to be her favorite event, the American came up short by just eight one-hundredths of a second of winning the bronze. The American even admitted to vomiting before she took to the course. 

The American took to Twitter earlier this morning giving fans more detail about the race that’s been lingering on her mind, and the nerves that overcame her.

Shiffrin continues to detail in the tweets below that, though not the result she wanted, she was proud of herself for showcasing the passion and love that she has for the sport and for the Olympic Games.

An athlete who is held to the highest of standards, and when one Olympic gold medal might feel like a minute failure from someone who has been expected to dominated these Olympic Games, Shiffrin expressed the gratitude she feels to be a part of the 2018 Olympics and to compete alongside athletes, many of whom will walk away without any medal whatsoever.

Shiffrin continued:

Shiffrin did not participate in the super-G, which was astonishingly won by Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka. The dual-athlete wore Shiffrin’s skis en route to her own Olympic memory.

The American is expected to be competing next in the women’s downhill, where qualification begins on Feb. 21. Lindsey Vonn is also expected to be competing in the downhill.