Mikaela Shiffrin wins again as history, records come into view (video)

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin won her seventh race in 14 starts this season on Wednesday. She will chase history at the PyeongChang Olympics, but single-season records are already coming into view on the World Cup.

Shiffrin captured the Snow Queen crown (which she broke, again) in Zagreb by a huge margin — 1.59 seconds — combining times from two runs.

Swiss Wendy Holdener was second, followed by Swede Frida Hansdotter.

Full results are here.

In her last 27 World Cup slaloms, Shiffrin owns 22 wins, two runners-up, a pair of third-place finishes and one DNF. The DNF came in Zagreb last year.

She made the podium in the last six World Cup races overall. The last woman to do that was Tina Maze in 2012-13, arguably the greatest season in Alpine history.

Which leads one to look ahead for Shiffrin.

If the Coloradoan stays on this pace in her best events of giant slalom and slalom, she will become the third skier to reach 2,000 World Cup points in a single season come the World Cup Finals in March.

Hermann Maier scored 2,000 in 40 races in 1999-2000. Tina Maze crushed that record with 2,414 in 35 races in the 2012-13 season. There are 38 scheduled women’s races this season.

Skiers receive 100 points for a win, 80 points for second place and 60 points for third place in a descending scale down to one point for 30th place.

This system was implemented for the 1991-92 season. Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy‘s historic 1966-67 season (won 12 of the 17 races) is out of the record picture because of the points table change and a busier race schedule.

Shiffrin will break Maze’s record if she stays on her current pace in slalom and giant slalom and adds another 398 points from the 11 remaining races in downhill, super-G and super combined.

“I don’t know if I will ever be able to do that. It’s not really one of my goals,” Shiffrin said, according to The Associated Press. “I also have so much respect for the season that Tina Maze had with so many points, it was incredible. There is a part of me that hopes that nobody ever beats that because she should really be remembered as one of the best ski racers of all time.”

Shiffrin is expected to skip several of the remaining speed races. She picks and chooses downhills and super-Gs at places where she feels comfortable with the speed and risk. She may pass on the Olympic downhill.

The focus is on the Winter Games, where Shiffrin is expected to become the first repeat Olympic slalom champion. She’s also a medal favorite in giant slalom and super combined.

Shiffrin, 22, is now at 38 career World Cup wins. Lindsey Vonn, the record-holder with 78 victories, had seven wins at the same age.

Shiffrin passed childhood idol Marlies Schild of Austria for solo sixth place on the women’s all-time list Wednesday.

The women’s Alpine World Cup continues with a giant slalom and slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Saturday and Sunday with coverage on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. The events were moved from Maribor.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Julia Mancuso skis final race dressed as Wonder Woman (video)

Leave a comment

Julia Mancuso bid farewell like only she could — with a tiara, cape and Wonder Woman suit.

The most decorated female U.S. Olympic skier with four medals announced Friday morning that today’s World Cup downhill in Cortina d’Ampezzo would be the last race of her career.

More on Mancuso’s retirement, career and immediate future here.

She raced Friday as her nickname — “Super Jules” — and coasted to the bottom 18 seconds slower than winner Sofia Goggia.

Afterward, U.S. Ski Team members sprayed her with champagne and lifted her up in the finish corral.

Mancuso chose an appropriate venue for her last race.

She notched her first World Cup podium in Cortina in January 2006, then won the Olympic giant slalom in Sestriere, Italy, four weeks later.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Mikaela Shiffrin’s dominance rarely seen in sports, let alone skiing

Jordyn Wieber says she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jordyn Wieber said she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, becoming the fourth member of the Fierce Five 2012 Olympic team to come forward Friday.

McKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Gabby Douglas previously said they were sexually abused by Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor for nearly two decades.

Two more Olympians — Jamie Dantzscher (2000) and Simone Biles (2016) — also said they were sexually abused by Nassar.

Wieber spoke for six minutes to start the fourth day of a Nassar sentencing hearing at a Michigan court on Friday.

Michigan state Assistant Attorney General Angela Povilaitis said Wieber reached out this week to say she wanted to speak at the hearing where more than 100 women are expected to deliver victim impact statements.

Here’s what Wieber said in front of Nassar on Friday:

I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever had to do, but in fact the hardest thing that is process that I’m a victim of Larry Nassar. It has caused me to feel shame and confusion, and I have spent months trying to think back on my experience and wonder how I didn’t even know this was happening to me and how I became so brainwashed by Larry and everyone at USA Gymnastics, both whom I thought were supposed to be on my side.

I started seeing Larry Nassar at the age of 8 in my hometown of Lansing. He was known as the best gymnastics doctor in the world. Everyone in my club, on the U.S. national team and across the country saw Larry, and everyone said the same thing. He was a miracle worker, and he could fix just about anything. I was treated by Larry for any and all of my injuries from ages 8 ’til I was 18, and it wasn’t long before he had gained my trust. He became a safe person of sorts, and to my teenage self he appeared to be the good guy in an environment that was intense and restricting.

He would try to advise me on how to deal with the stresses of training or my coaches. He would bring us food and coffee at the Olympics when we were too afraid to eat too much in front of our coaches. I didn’t know that these were all grooming techniques that he used to manipulate me and brainwash me to trusting him.

When I was 14 years old, I tore my hamstring in my right leg. This is when he started performing the procedure that we are all now familiar with. I would cringe at how uncomfortable it felt. He did it time after time, appointment after appointment, convincing me that it was helping my hamstring injury. And the worst part was that I had no idea he was sexually abusing me for his own benefit. I knew it felt strange, but he was the national team doctor. Who was I to question his treatments, or even more, risk my chance at making the Olympic team or being chosen to compete internationally. And after all, he was recommended by the national team staff, and he treated us monthly at all of our national team camps. I even talked to my teammates, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, about this treatment, and how uncomfortable it made us feel. None of us really understood it. After I made the Olympic team, I suffered a stress fracture in my right shin. It was extremely painful to tumble and land using my legs, but I fought through the pain because it was the Olympics, and I knew it would be probably my only shot.

Our bodies were all hanging by a thread when we were in London. Who was the doctor that USAG sent to keep us healthy and help us get through? The doctor that was our abuser. The doctor that is a child molester. Because of my shin, I couldn’t train without being in extreme pain, and it affected the number of routines I could do to prepare before the competition. And, ultimately, it made me feel less prepared than I should have been. I didn’t qualify to the all-around competition, and I went through a dark time right before we won the team gold. 

Now, I question everything about that injury and the medical treatment I received. Was Larry even doing anything to help my pain? Was I getting the proper medical care, or was he only focused on which one of us he was going to prey on next? What does he think about when he massaged my sore muscles every day? Now I question everything.

To this day, I still don’t know how he could have been allowed to do this for so long. My teammates and I were subjected to his medical care every single month at the national-team training center in Texas. He was the only male allowed to be present in the athlete dorm rooms to do whatever treatments he wanted. He was allowed to treat us in hotel rooms alone without any supervision. He took photos of us during training and whenever else he wanted. Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of. Nobody was even concerned whether or not we were being sexually abused. I was not protected, and neither were my teammates. 

My parents trusted USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar to take care of me, and we were betrayed by both. And now the lack of accountability from USAG, USOC and Michigan State have caused me and many other girls to remain shameful, confused and disappointed. 

I am angry with myself for not recognizing the abuse, and that’s something I’m struggling with today. But even thought I am a victim, I do not and will not live my life as one. I am an Olympian. Despite being abused, I worked so hard and managed to achieve my goal. But I want everyone, especially the media, to know that despite my athletic achievements, I am one of over 140 women and survivors whose story is important. Our pain is all the same, and our stories are all important. And now the people who are responsible need to accept responsibility for the pain they have caused me and the rest of the women who have been abused. Larry Nassar is accountable. USA Gymnastics is accountable. The U.S. Olympic Committee is accountable. My teammates and friends have been through enough, and now it’s time for change because the current and future gymnasts do not deserve to live in anxiety, fear or be unprotected like I was.