Lindsey Van, Bill Demong, Nick Alexander win Nordic Skiing National Championships

Lindsey Van
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In the absence of the injured Sarah HendricksonLindsey Van soared to her 16th national ski jumping title Sunday, while Olympic champion Bill Demong scored his ninth national Nordic combined title.

2010 Olympian Nick Alexander took the men’s ski jumping normal hill championship. All of the Nordic skiing events were held in Lake Placid. Hendrickson and Nick Fairall won the large hill national titles there in August.

Van, 28, tallied 250 points with jumps of 92 meters and 96.5 meters on the normal hill.

“It’s nice as I was struggling a couple of years,” said Van, the 2009 world champion who placed 16th at worlds Feb. 22, said according to a U.S. Ski Team press release. “It was nice to feel the rhythm of ski jumping again.”

Reigning world champion Hendrickson, meanwhile, is still on the road to recovery.

Hendrickson said two weeks ago that her goal was to be back ski jumping in January. If she makes the Olympic team, Hendrickson, 19, will be somewhat of a co-favorite for gold with Japan’s Sara Takanashi, the reigning World Cup champion.

Takanashi, 17, dominated an event at the Sochi Olympic hill on Sunday, scoring 252.5 points with both jumps over 100 meters. The second-place finishers had 218 points.

“To get to Takanashi’s level, you have to work a lot,” Russian Anastasia Gladysheva said.

Van is expected to make a four-woman U.S. Olympic team regardless of Hendrickson’s condition. As is Jessica Jerome, who placed second to Van on Sunday with 223.5 points. Alissa Johnson, third Sunday, and Abby Hughes are the other contenders to make the team for the first U.S. Olympic women’s ski jumping team.

In Nordic combined, Demong came back to win in his hometown. The four-time Olympian was third after the morning ski jump and recorded the third-fastest 10km cross-country roller ski time to hold off brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher by 11 seconds. Todd Lodwick, first in the ski jump and aiming to make his sixth Olympic team, was fifth.

“The biggest threat today was either Todd, sprinting to the finish, or Taylor, who if he catches you, the chances are he’s just going to ski away from you on the bigger hills, especially lately, because he’s been training  so well,” Demong said.

In the men’s ski jumping competition, Alexander registered a pair of 99-meter jumps for 263.5 points. Fairall placed second with 242.5. 2010 Olympians Anders Johnson and Peter Frenette were third and fourth with 242 and 241 points, respectively.

“This validates all of the hard work that I’ve been putting in all this summer,” Alexander said. “So now I just have to appreciate today and work even harder heading into the wintertime.”

The men’s ski jumping World Cup begins Nov. 23 in Klingthenal, Germany. The Nordic combined World Cup starts Nov. 30 in Kuusamo, Finland. The first women’s ski jumping World Cup stop is Dec. 6 in Lillehammer, Norway.

How U.S. Olympic bobsled teams are shaping up

Germany sweeps women’s luge medals at world championships

Anna Berreiter
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Olympic silver medalist Anna Berreiter led a German sweep of the women’s medals at the world luge championships at home in Oberhof on Saturday.

Berreiter prevailed by 58 thousandths of a second over defending world champion Julia Taubitz combining times from two runs. At 23, she is the youngest women’s world champion since American Erin Hamlin in 2009.

Dajana Eitberger, who won the sprint world title on Friday, rounded out Saturday’s podium. Summer Britcher was the top American in 12th

A German woman has won 38 of the last 43 world titles dating to 1962.

German women also won the last seven Olympic titles dating to 1998. Natalie Geisenberger, who won the last three Olympic golds, is sitting out this season due to pregnancy.

Germany has won the first seven events of worlds with two left on Sunday — the traditional men’s event and the team relay. Germany last swept the luge worlds golds in 2013, back when there were four events.

Earlier Saturday, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won their fifth consecutive world title, beating longtime rivals and countrymen Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt by .171. Wendl and Arlt won the last three Olympic titles. Americans Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander placed seventh on Saturday.

Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal repeated as world champions in women’s doubles, an event that makes its Olympic debut in 2026. Chevonne Forgan and Sophia Kirkby were the top Americans in sixth.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins 85th World Cup, can tie overall record Sunday

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin earned her 85th World Cup win on Saturday and can tie the Alpine skiing World Cup victories record on Sunday.

Shiffrin won the first of back-to-back slaloms in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, site of her World Cup debut in 2011 at age 15, for her 11th victory in 22 starts this season.

She prevailed by six tenths of a second over German Lena Duerr combining times from two runs. Then she celebrated with an uncharacteristic shoulder shimmy before “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner began playing over loudspeakers in the finish area.

It’s not the first time that song has been played after a Shiffrin victory this season.

“I knew it would take some risk,” she said. “There’s a chance I don’t finish at all.”

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Shiffrin, having her best season since her record 17-win campaign in 2018-19, is now one victory shy of the Alpine World Cup record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86 times between slalom and giant slalom in the 1970s and ’80s.

Stenmark has held the record since January 1982.

Shiffrin races in another slalom on Sunday in Spindleruv Mlyn, the last women’s race before February’s world championships. World championships races do not count as World Cups. The World Cup season resumes following worlds in late February.

Shiffrin is on her second winning streak this season and has won nine of her last 14 races dating to Dec. 18. Last Tuesday, she won a giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, to break her tie with Lindsey Vonn for the women’s Alpine World Cup wins record. On Wednesday, she won another GS In Kronplatz.

She leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by more than 600 points through 27 of 39 scheduled races. At this rate, she could clinch her fifth overall title before March’s World Cup Finals.

She is currently tied with Vonn for the second-most women’s overall titles behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll, who won five in the 1970s.

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