Mikaela Shiffrin edged out in World Cup Finals slalom

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Mikaela Shiffrin was beaten for the third time in 10 World Cup slaloms this season, edged out by .24 at the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday.

Shiffrin, the Olympic and world slalom champion, took second to Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swede Frida Hansdotter was third.

Vlhova was fastest in both runs, while Shiffrin was third-fastest in both runs.

“I wouldn’t call today a bad day,” Shiffrin said. “I was disappointed with some of my skiing and also happy with some of my skiing. Yeah, second place is never bad.”

Race Results | Run 2 Replay

Shiffrin, who turned 22 years old on Monday and has 11 World Cup wins this season, already had the season overall and slalom titles wrapped up before Saturday’s race.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever process that,” a smiling Shiffrin said of becoming the fifth American man or woman to take the overall title, and the youngest of any nationality since 2003. “It’s been a goal and a dream of mine since I was 5 years old, and it’s really difficult to understand something that finally happens after 20 years.”

Shiffrin is up to 1,603 points this season, which is the most by a female racer since Tina Maze set the points record with 2,414 in 2013. Shiffrin has competed in 24 of 36 races this season, skipping the majority of the downhill, super-G and super combined races.

Maze, now retired, competed in all 35 races in her historic 2012-13 campaign.

“I remember when Tina Maze had her big, big season, and she said to me at the end, ‘Don’t do every event. It’s so exhausting,'” Shiffrin said. “I was like, but that’s what I want to do. Now, a couple years later, I can understand what she means. I didn’t even ski in every race this year, and I feel the fatigue.”

Earlier Saturday, Austrian Marcel Hirscher won the World Cup Finals giant slalom by .53. Hirscher, who already clinched his record sixth straight World Cup overall title, finished first or second in all eight giant slaloms this season.

The World Cup Finals conclude Sunday with the men’s slalom and women’s giant slalom (broadcast schedule here).

“I’m definitely motivated after today,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t want to leave anything out there.”

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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