Career-best speed result for Mikaela Shiffrin

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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Lara Gut crashed. Mikaela Shiffrin was ecstatic after finishing fourth. Lindsey Vonn, meanwhile, was just happy to make it down safely in 12th.

It was an up-and-down day for the biggest names in women’s ski racing Sunday as Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia took advantage of bib No. 1 to win the first World Cup super-G of her career.

Stuhec finished 0.31 seconds ahead of Sofia Goggia of Italy and 0.70 in front of two-time overall champion Anna Veith of Austria.

Gut, the defending overall champion, was fastest through the first two checkpoints when she lost control and twisted around in the air. She was fortunate to land with her skis facing downhill and came away with only bruises on her right leg and arm, according to the Swiss team.

“That’s not the way I expected to end my weekend,” Gut, who won Saturday’s downhill, wrote on Facebook. “I’m OK. Ice will be my best friend for the next few days.”

Shiffrin missed the podium by 0.03 seconds and extended her overall lead to 80 points ahead of Gut after the best speed result of her career.

The American’s previous best speed result was 13th.

“That was really fun,” said Shiffrin, the Olympic and two-time world champion in slalom. “It felt like solid skiing, and I was taking the line that we inspected and maybe even more aggressive in some spots.

“Sometimes in speed if you feel good you’re slow, so when I came to the bottom, I was like, ‘That can’t be good.’ Then I saw I was in fourth and I was like, ‘What? No way,'” added Shiffrin, who was racing in Cortina for the first time. “So that was kind of cool, and I’m going to really look at the video and figure out what sort of things I can take from today.”

It was another perfect day in the resort known as the “Queen” of the Dolomites Range, with the Olympia delle Tofane course bathed in sunshine and uninhibited 360-degree views all across the valley.

While her coach, Chris Knight, set the course, Vonn took it easy after crashing the previous two days. Vonn, who has won a record 11 races in Cortina, is still regaining her form in super-G after returning recently from nearly a year out with knee and arm injuries.

It was the first time Vonn left Cortina without a win since 2009.

“It definitely wasn’t the weekend that I was hoping for, but I think all things considered it’s good that I’m still in one piece,” Vonn said. “It was definitely really conservative skiing, but I got to the finish and that was the most important part.

“I really didn’t want to risk everything today and not finish again and then have no confidence for the world championships,” Vonn added. “So I executed my plan, and now I just need a couple of days off. I’m definitely stiff from hitting the fence so hard two times in a row. Get a couple good days of super-G training in and I think I’ll be ready to go.”

Stuhec won the opening three downhills of this season but had never finished better than fourth in super-G.

“It wasn’t a usual super-G,” Stuhec said. “It was faster with a few less turns, but in the end you need to ski whatever they set.”

With her ninth podium result this season, Goggia matched the Italian women’s team record of nine set by Deborah Compagnoni in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Goggia is still seeking her first career win.

“I skied at 70-75 percent of what I can do,” Goggia said. “I was coming off two DNFs in super-G, so I’m happy with the result and I know I can push harder and harder. … I’m just thinking about skiing and doing the right things, and then the win will come.”

It was the first podium result for Veith since she returned in December, 14 months after badly damaging her right knee in a training crash.

Veith, formerly known as Anna Fenninger, achieved the first podium result of her career in a super-G in Cortina in 2009.

“It’s not exactly the same feeling, but it was nearly the same because it was also surprising for me,” Veith said. “I knew I could ski fast, but I had only had fast split times. Today I put together the entire run, and I’m happy that it was enough.”

Still recovering from hip surgery, Julia Mancuso delayed her return after nearly two years out and tested the course instead as a forerunner.

Up next is a parallel city event in Stockholm on Tuesday — the final race before the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, from Feb. 7-19.

MORE: Lately, Lindsey Vonn is crashing more than she’s winning

Olympic ski cross champion suffers serious knee injury

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Canadian Marielle Thompson, the reigning Olympic and World Cup ski cross champion, ruptured an ACL and MCL in a training crash in Switzerland.

Alpine Canada did not say when the accident happened or what Thompson’s chances are of returning to defend her Olympic title in PyeongChang.

Thompson flew from Switzerland to Vancouver for an MRI that confirmed the injury.

“I’ll be making a plan with my team moving forward and when the time is right getting back on the ski cross course stronger than ever,” Thompson said in a press release.

Thompson, 25, tore a meniscus in January 2015 and returned to competition 11 months later. She won seven of the 13 World Cup races last season.

Other Olympic medal contenders include Swede Sandra Näslund and Swiss Fanny Smith.

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Nathan Chen leads Yuzuru Hanyu at Grand Prix opener (video)

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U.S. champion Nathan Chen hopes to become comfortable in this spot this season — ahead of reigning Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu in the standings.

The 18-year-old Chen landed two quadruple jumps in his short program at the opening Grand Prix event in Moscow, taking a 5.69-point lead over Hanyu going into Saturday’s free skate.

Two-time world champion Yevgenia Medvedeva of Russia topped the women’s short program with 80.75 points (one tenth off her world record).

Full Rostelecom Cup results are here.

Chen’s tally — 100.54 points — is the second-highest short of his flourishing international career. It would have been higher if not for two of his three jumping passes receiving negative grades of execution for wonky landings.

The Japanese megastar Hanyu fell on his final jump, a triple toe loop, on Friday. No matter, Winnie the Pooh bears rained down on the ice from the adoring crowd, many of whom traveled from Japan.

Hanyu scored 94.85 points, one month after breaking his world record short program score with 112.72 points in a small event in Canada.

“Today I made some mistakes in my short program, but overall it didn’t feel bad,” Hanyu said, according to the International Skating Union.

Hanyu, though he is the current PyeongChang favorite, has never won his season-opening Grand Prix event in seven tries.

Chen has now outscored Hanyu, who is four years older, in four of their last eight head-to-head skates.

Hanyu was better in the two biggest programs at last season’s world championships. Chen placed sixth at worlds in April, perhaps gassed at the end of his first senior season while competing on duct-taped skates.

In the women’s standings, Medvedeva topped Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy by 6.13 points.

American Mirai Nagasu landed a triple Axel that was called under rotated and fell on her other two jumping passes. She ended up ninth, two spots behind U.S. bronze medalist Mariah Bell.

In the short dance, two-time world medalists and U.S. champions Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani tallied 77.30 points.

The siblings lead by .97 over Russians Yekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviyev going into the free dance.

Russians are one-two in pairs. World bronze medalists Yevgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov lead Olympic silver medalists Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov by 5.49.

All of the free skates are Saturday, live on Olympic Channel. A full schedule is here.

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Rostelecom Cup
Men’s Short
1. Nathan Chen (USA) — 100.54
2. Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — 94.85
3. Dmitriy Aliyev (RUS) — 88.77
11. Grant Hochstein (USA) — 67.56

Women’s Short
1. Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — 80.75
2. Carolina Kostner (ITA) — 74.64
3. Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) — 69.60
7. Mariah Bell (USA) — 63.85
9. Mirai Nagasu (USA) — 56.15

Short Dance
1. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA) — 77.30
2. Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS) — 76.33
3. Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin (RUS) — 71.32
7. Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons (USA) — 59.41

Pairs Short
1. Yevgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov (RUS) — 76.88
2. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov (RUS) — 71.39
3. Valentina Marchei/Ondřej Hotárek (ITA) — 68.48
7. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran (USA) — 54.37