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Mikaela Shiffrin takes spotlight as world championships hit final weekend

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Mikaela Shiffrin waited out the first nine days of the world championships. Now, she gets to race for gold.

Shiffrin is a medal favorite in the giant slalom on Thursday and the gold-medal favorite in the slalom on Saturday, live on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app from St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Thursday
Giant Slalom Run 1 — 3:45 a.m. ET (NBCSports.com/live)
Giant Slalom Run 2 — 7 a.m. ET (NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live)

Saturday
Slalom Run 1 — 3:45 a.m. ET (NBCSports.com/live)
Slalom Run 2 — 7 a.m. ET (NBCSports.com/live)
Slalom Highlights — 12:30 p.m. ET (NBC)

The U.S. owns one medal so far from the first seven events at worlds — a downhill bronze from Lindsey Vonn — but Shiffrin is expected to lift the American team in the remaining technical events.

Three women in Thursday’s giant slalom field have won World Cup giant slaloms this season — France’s Tessa Worley (three victories), Shiffrin (two) and Italian Federica Brignone (one). One of the pre-event medal favorites, Swiss Lara Gut, is out after tearing her left ACL on Friday.

Shiffrin, who owns 25 World Cup slalom wins, picked up her first outright World Cup GS victories this season on back-to-back days in Semmering, Austria. She has finished sixth or better in all seven World Cup GS races this season, consistency only Worley can match.

It bodes well for Shiffrin to improve on her previous major GS results — sixth at the 2013 Worlds, fifth at the 2014 Olympics and eighth at the 2015 Worlds at home in Vail, Colo.

“I’m a lot more confident in my GS than I was going into Vail,” she said earlier this month. “My slalom, I guess my confidence level is about the same.”

The slalom is Shiffrin’s bread and butter. On Saturday, she can become the second woman to win three world slalom titles and the first since 1939.

Starting with the 2015 World Championships, Shiffrin won 15 straight slaloms until a DNF on Jan. 3. She’s won and finished third in two slaloms since.

Shiffrin also goes into these two worlds races well prepared, following an extended period of training. She opted to skip the super-G last Tuesday and the super combined on Friday in St. Moritz to spend more time working on her slalom and giant slalom in practice.

“My main events are GS and slalom right now, and I feel like I can use this block of training to power through world champs, but also set me up for more success at the end of the season with the rest of the World Cup,” Shiffrin said before worlds.

Shiffrin is all but guaranteed more success in the final month of the World Cup season. She leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport, by 180 points over Gut, who is out for the season.

The next-closest racer is 414 points behind, the gap equivalent of four wins. With only 11 races left, Shiffrin is poised to become the third U.S. woman to win the overall title after Tamara McKinney and Vonn.

VIDEO: Roger Federer takes in world champs with Lindsey Vonn

101-year-old woman wins gold medal at World Masters Games

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Man Kaur, a 101-year-old woman from India, won a gold medal at the World Masters Games by running the 100m in 74 seconds on Monday.

“I enjoyed it and am very, very happy,” Kaur told media, according to the Times of India, which added that she took up track and field eight years ago, at age 93. “I’m going to run again, I’m not going to give up. I will participate, there’s no full stop.”

Kaur sprinted alone on the track at Trusts Arena in Auckland, to audible applause and cheers from the crowd. There were two other runners in her heat, according to the New Zealand Herald, women ages 85 and 88. But they both finished in under 30 seconds, ceding the stage to Kaur for most of her race.

Kaur later danced in celebration with the medal around her neck.

The World Masters Games are a quadrennial multi-sport event, like the Olympics, but with different classifications per age group.

In track and field, there are age groups from 30-35 years all the way up to 100-and-over in Auckland. Kaur was the oldest track and field athlete competing by 11 years and thus won her age group with no competition.

Kaur is also entered in the 200m, javelin and shot put later this week.

She’s not the first centenarian to star in an Olympic sport.

Japan’s Hidekichi Miyazaki made headlines two years ago at age 105 for running 100m in 42 seconds.

In cycling, a 105-year-old Frenchman covered 14 miles in one hour in January.

A 100-year-old Japanese woman swam 1500m in 1 hour, 15 minutes, in 2015.

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Watch Simone Biles samba to Destiny’s Child on ‘Dancing with the Stars’

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Simone Biles easily advanced to the final seven on “Dancing with the Stars,” while Nancy Kerrigan was the last contestant to survive elimination Monday night.

Biles, a four-time Rio Olympic gymnastics gold medalist, danced a samba to Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” with partner Sasha Farber.

They received 35 points out of a possible 40 — with no 10s after Biles received her first 10s the previous week. It was the fourth-best score of eight couples Monday.

Judges felt their timing was off.

Kerrigan, a two-time Olympic figure skating medalist, performed with Artem Chigvintsev to En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind.”

They scored 33 points, lowest of the four women’s contestants remaining, with judges telling Kerrigan she looked unstable and tense at times. Kerrigan has been dealing with back pain and arm weakness.

“We had a lunch break, and we had sushi, and she couldn’t lift the soy sauce,” Chigvintsev said on ABC News.

The elimination came down to Kerrigan and “Glee” actress Heather Morris. Morris was cut, via a combination judges scores and fan votes, despite recording the first perfect score of the season Monday night.

The announcement drew boos from the studio crowd.

Kerrigan and Biles are looking to become the sixth Olympian to win the Mirrorball Trophy in the series’ 24 seasons, joining Kristi YamaguchiApolo OhnoShawn JohnsonMeryl Davis and Laurie Hernandez.

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