Mikaela Shiffrin misses podium as Olympic golds quest gets tougher

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Plenty of talk about Mikaela Shiffrin possibly winning three gold medals in PyeongChang, but the last two days showed just how tough that task will be.

France’s Tessa Worley notched her first international giant slalom win on Saturday since claiming the world championships and World Cup titles in the event last season.

German Viktoria Rebensburg, the 2010 Olympic GS champ, was second on Saturday, extending her lead in this season’s World Cup GS standings.

Shiffrin was seventh, four days after crashing out of the previous giant slalom. Before this week, Shiffrin placed in the top six of the last 15 giant slaloms since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Full Saturday results are here.

Lenzerheide marked the final World Cup giant slalom before the Olympics.

Shiffrin was the strongest GS racer around the new year, but Rebensburg has unquestionably been the top woman in the event over the whole season. The German has three wins and two runners-up in seven World Cup GS races.

Couple that with Swiss Wendy Holdener routing Friday’s super combined by 1.55 seconds. Holdener won the 2017 world title in the combined, though Shiffrin wasn’t in that field or in Friday’s race. Holdener also recorded both victories on home snow in Switzerland.

Shiffrin has been billed as the Olympic favorite in slalom, GS and the combined — Sports Illustrated picked her to win all three — but it wouldn’t shock anyone if Worley, Rebensburg or Holdener keeps the world’s best all-around skier from the record-tying triple.

Toni SailerJean-Claude Killy and Janica Kostelic share the mark of three Alpine titles at a single Games.

Shiffrin headlines her trademark event, a slalom, in Lenzerheide on Sunday, streaming on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app with the second run also airing on NBCSN.

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MORE: Alpine skiing season broadcast schedule

Top curling video and social media moments

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For nearly three straight weeks, curling dominated the Olympic airwaves, and while the U.S., Sweden and Canada all came away with gold medals, there were still plenty of highlights away from the ice.

In the mixed doubles tournament, fans were introduced to Team USA’s #HamFam, Matt and Becca Hamilton, who became instant sensations. Matt was even confused for some other celebrities, as people tried to nail down exactly who he looked like.

And he got to “meet” his hero, Aaron Rodgers… of course only through Twitter (for now!)

 In the women’s tournament, fans were introduced to Japan’s “sunshine team,” who were all all smiles on the way to their bronze medal win.

Three Stars from men’s hockey at the Olympics

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NBC Olympics staff selected three special performers from the enitre men’s tournament at the Olympics.

FIRST STAR
Eeli Tolvanen, Finland: The 18-year-old winger was the undisputed breakout star of the men’s tournament. Even though Finland was eliminated in the quarterfinals, Tolvanen’s tally of nine points still ranked second overall as he averaged nearly two points per game. He scored in his Olympic debut and also tallied two assists against eventual silver medalist Germany. He followed that up with two scores against Norway. Tolvanen paced his team past an energized South Korean team in the qualification playoffs, assisting in Finland’s opening three goals. After a sizzling Olympic performance, Tolvanen could be on his way to the NHL to help the Nashville Predators chase the Stanley Cup once again.

NBCOlympics.com: OAR defeat Germany to win hockey gold 

SECOND STAR
Nikita Gusev, Olympic Athletes from Russia: The Vegas Golden Knights prospect tallied four goals and eight assists in just six games throughout the 2018 Winter Games. He also struck twice when it mattered most, helping OAR force OT in the gold-medal game. Trailing 3-2 in the final frame and playing shorthanded, Gusev was able to sneak a backhanded shot into the back of the net to knot the score with less than a minute remaining. Then, in the extra session, it was Gusev who made a beautiful cross-ice pass to set up the golden goal by Kirill Kaprizov.

NBCOlymipcs.com: Canada claim bronze with 6-4 over Czech Republic

THIRD STAR
Ryan Donato, United States: The 21-year-old Boston Bruins prospect was bright spot for Team USA despite the disappointing finish. The sniper lifted his team to a crucial preliminary-round victory over Slovakia, grabbing both goals in a 2-1 victory. He came back to haunt Slovakia again with two more scores in the qualification playoffs, and though the United States’ tournament came to an end in the quarterfinals against the Czech Republic, Donato notched one last goal in the 3-2 loss to finish with a team-leading five goals and six points. Donato, along with fellow collegiate athletes Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway, surprised many with their contributions on the ice. If management had known of their game-changing impact in advance, the American roster might have included more NCAA players.