Mikaela Shiffrin edges rival in head-to-head for World Cup win (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin edged her top slalom rival, head to head, for her 35th World Cup victory and fourth this season on Wednesday night.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion, won a parallel slalom under the lights in Courchevel, France.

She beat Slovenian Petra Vlhova by .04 in the final, a matchup of the two women who combined to win the previous five World Cup slaloms dating to last season.

“I was in the start gate, I’m like, not today,” Shiffrin said with a laugh. “I always know that I’m going head to head with her, but normally I’m on course or she’s on course, and we’re not on courses together. That was a really cool way to experience that kind of fight with her.”

Shiffrin had the fastest qualifying run in the afternoon, then went through five rounds of head-to-head racing on a compressed course. It took about 20 seconds to complete each matchup.

She dispatched Frenchwoman Coralie Frasse Sombet, Austrians Carmen Thalmann and Ricarda Haaser and Italian Irene Curtoni before topping Vlhova in the final.

Shiffrin broke her tie with Vlhova for the World Cup slalom standings lead after three of a scheduled 12 races.

Vlhova won the last slalom of the 2016-17 season and the first slalom this season. Now, Shiffrin has taken two straight slaloms.

Shiffrin has raced 24 World Cup slaloms in the last three years, winning 19 with a pair of second- and third-place finishes and one DNF.

Shiffrin became the second woman to win four World Cup races in six straight seasons. The other is Lindsey Vonn, who holds the female record of 78 World Cup victories.

The Alpine World Cup continues with a giant slalom and slalom on Dec. 28-29 in Lienz, Austria, the site of Shiffrin’s first of 51 World Cup podiums six years ago.

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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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