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Mikaela Shiffrin leads postponed World Cup race

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ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — A World Cup super combined was canceled because of thick fog Friday, soon after Mikaela Shiffrin was fastest in the opening slalom run.

The poor conditions wiped away Shiffrin’s chances of adding to her World Cup overall standings lead. Organizers first pushed back the super-G start time and then decided to scrap it.

Later, Shiffrin lost a second chance to win the event. Race organizers declined an option to let Saturday’s scheduled super-G double up as the second run of the combined.

Lindsey Vonn wasn’t surprised that racing was stopped.

“I don’t foresee the super-G being able to happen, it’s so foggy,” Vonn said after placing 25th in slalom, 3.33 seconds behind her countrywoman. “You can’t even free ski down the hill.”

Organizers tried to defy the gloomy forecast by flipping the race order. Fog and strong winds higher up the hill made the super-G course too dangerous in the morning.

Shiffrin did not have the cleanest slalom run, but she finished .39 of a second ahead of Swiss rival Wendy Holdener. In February, Holdener won the combined and took silver behind Shiffrin the slalom at the world championships in St. Moritz.

On Friday, Shiffrin trailed after almost losing her balance though the first steep section after a start on flat terrain, then gained time lower down.

In third place, world silver medalist Michelle Gisin of Switzerland was 1.21 seconds back.

Still, Shiffrin can still look with confidence to super-G races scheduled Saturday and Sunday having placed fifth in the speed discipline last Sunday in Lake Louise, Alberta.

For the first time since March 2015, four-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso started a World Cup race. She finished almost eight seconds behind Shiffrin.

“It was fun to be back in the start and I made it to the finish,” said Mancuso, who returned from hip surgery. “Today was not the result of my injury, it was the result of lack of training.”

Mancuso is targeting the Olympic super-G, but it will not be easy to make the U.S. roster of four racers in the event.

The weather denied her a chance to race super-G on Friday.

“I felt like when I got up this morning and they changed the order, that I was being punked,” joked Mancuso, who hopes to start in the two World Cup super-G races this weekend.

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WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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