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U.S. skier Laurenne Ross out months with knee injury

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Laurenne Ross, the second-best U.S. speed racer behind Lindsey Vonn the last two years, suffered a right knee injury in a U.S. Championships crash on Monday and won’t be able to ski for at least two months, according to her social media.

“Further analysis is required to figure out exactly what is wrong, but I will not be skiing for at least the next couple months,” was posted on Ross’ Instagram. “I will keep you all updated when the time comes.”

Ross, 28, had a promising season, with seven World Cup top-10 finishes. She was fifth in the world championships downhill and fourth in the Olympic test event downhill in South Korea.

Ross has come back from injury before — a fractured pelvis in December 2006, a torn left ACL in 2008, at least five left shoulder dislocations and multiple broken fingers.

She made her first Olympic team in Sochi, where she was 11th in the downhill.

“I had many ups and downs, but am so thankful to have made it this far in my career with all the love and support that surrounds me,” was posted on Ross’ Instagram. “I will tack this on to my list of injuries, move on, and come back stronger.”

Ross is the second U.S. speed racer to suffer major injury in a crash this month. Breezy Johnson suffered a tibial plateau fracture in her left leg in the World Cup Finals downhill.

Ross, Vonn and Johnson, plus four-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso and World Cup podium finishers Stacey Cook and Jacqueline Wiles will likely all be vying for Olympic downhill places next season. Mikaela Shiffrin could try, too.

A nation can enter no more than four women per race at the Olympics.

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MORE: Mikaela Shiffrin eyes speed events in 2018

After a fun and wonderful season I am so sad to announce that yesterday, at US Nationals, I sustained an injury to my right knee. Further analysis is required to figure out exactly what is wrong, but I will not be skiing for at least the next couple months. I will keep you all updated when the time comes. I crossed so many finish lines this year — some with a smile and some without — but as I look back I can breathe deeply, because I have no regrets. It was a season for learning, for friendship, and for ambition. I had many ups and downs, but am so thankful to have made it this far in my career with all the love and support that surrounds me. I will tack this on to my list of injuries, move on, and come back stronger. I can't wait to step up to the challenges that lay ahead of me, and I couldn't do it without all of your support. Thank-you so much for being there, through thick and through thin, through the wins, the losses, the injuries, and the joy 🙏 I will be back 👊

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Mikaela Shiffrin sixth in last race of season; eyes speed events in 2018

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Mikaela Shiffrin completed her best season yet with a sixth-place finish in the World Cup Finals giant slalom in Aspen, Colo., on Sunday. Then she looked ahead to expanding her Olympic program.

Shiffrin, the World Cup overall champion, ended up 2.14 seconds behind Italian Federica Brignone at the 37th and last race of the season. Shiffrin was in second place after the first run but struggled in the second run, going 15th-fastest.

“I’m not very satisfied,” Shiffrin said on NBCSN. “I didn’t take enough aggression when I really needed it. It’s a bit of a bummer, but it’s good motivation for next year.”

Italy swept the first three places. Brignone was followed by Sofia Goggia and Marta Bassino.

France’s Tessa Worley placed fifth, wrapping up the giant slalom season title by 85 points over Shiffrin. Shiffrin also took second to Worley in the giant slalom at the world championships in February.

Full Results

This season, Shiffrin was once again the world’s best slalom skier, improved to become the second-best giant slalom skier and won her only super combined start.

“I’ve been dreaming about the overall globe,” Shiffrin said. “I just wanted to be the best skier in the world. When you look at the definition of the best skier in the world, the overall globe pops up.”

At 22, she is the youngest World Cup overall champion since Janica Kostelic in 2003, and the fifth American to take home the sport’s biggest annual prize (Phil MahreTamara McKinneyBode MillerLindsey Vonn).

Her 11 World Cup wins are joint-second-most by an American man or woman in one season, trailing only Vonn, who took 12 in the 2011-12 season.

Three medals at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics are possible. One U.S. woman has captured three medals in one Winter Olympics — speed skater Sheila Young in 1976.

The 2017-18 World Cup season will likely start with the traditional opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, in late October.

Shiffrin’s goal next year is to improve in the speed events of super-G and downhill, racing at least one speed event in PyeongChang. She has made five career World Cup super-G starts and two downhills, with a best finish of fourth.

“I still don’t feel like the best skier in the world,” Shiffrin said. “I feel like the best slalom skier, one of the best GS skiers, and I have some work to do in speed. Maybe someday I’ll be the best skier in everything, and then I can really sit back and say, OK, now I’ve done it. But I don’t know if that day will ever come.”

A challenge will be stamina. Shiffrin started 25 of 37 World Cup races this season, skipping the majority of the speed races. Even with that schedule, she noted fatigue in Aspen this weekend.

“You just want to take a nap for three days straight,” Shiffrin said Sunday.

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MORE: U.S. downhiller suffers leg fracture in race crash

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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MORE: U.S. downhiller suffers leg fracture in race crash