Mikaela Shiffrin bounces back in Bormio slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin quelled surfacing doubts about her Olympic gold-medal favorite status, winning a World Cup slalom race through rain and snow in Bormio, Italy, on Sunday.

The American prevailed in a two-run time of 2 minutes, .41 seconds. She won for the second time in four slalom races this season, further consolidating her World Championships and World Cup slalom titles last season.

“I was really psyched to win again,” Shiffrin, who was 12th and second in the previous two slaloms, told The Associated Press. “It’s been a fight all season and I feel like, if I’m not perfectly ready, then the win goes to somebody else. So I was really trying to prepare myself and be ready to go today no matter what the conditions or the visibility.”

Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmner was second, .13 behind, followed by France’s Nastasia Noens.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a downhill and super combined in Altenmarkt, Austria, on Saturday and Sunday.

Lindsey Vonn is not expected to race as her status going forward is “up in the air.

“Her knee is very swollen, and it’s impossible for her to consider skiing for now,” U.S. Ski Team coach Alex Hoedlmoser said, according to Reuters.

“To race without a ligament is extremely risky and can have serious consequences,” U.S. Ski Team coach Patrick Riml added. “If she was a young athlete, we would have stopped her already.”

Shiffrin, who does not ski speed events, entered Sunday’s rescheduled race having lost her tight grip as the world’s best slalom skier.

Austrian Marlies Schild had come back from injury to win the last two World Cup slaloms. Shiffrin finished 12th at one of them.

Schild, 32, had won four of five World Cup slalom season titles before Shiffrin, 18, took it last year with Schild mostly sidelined.

Schild would have taken this season’s standings lead had she finished higher than Shiffrin on Sunday.

“Everything was starting to get in my head, so I was just like, ‘Maybe I should just try to let it go and have fun with it,’” Shiffrin told the AP after her first run.

Schild finished sixth, moving up from 15th after the first run.

Shiffrin was 11th fastest in the second run after leading the opener at the Stelvio course. Her .03 starting advantage over Pietilae-Holmner dropped to .01 during her second run, but Shiffrin picked up .08 over the final split.

The event that crowns the Snow Queen was moved from Zagreb, Croatia. Shiffrin prepared by watching past runs by Olympic champions Bode Miller and Janica Kostelic on YouTube up to Saturday night.

“It reminds me of Vermont and northeast Canada,” Shiffrin, a Vail, Colo., native who also spent parts of childhood in New Hampshire, told the AP after her first run. “It’s the same for everybody, but the gates hit the snow and then the (snow) comes off it and hits you in the goggles so by the end of the course you couldn’t really see, but you could see enough to finish.”

Shiffrin is expected to compete a maximum of three more times before the Olympics — a Jan. 14 slalom in Flachau, Austria, and two races in Maribor, Slovenia, Feb. 1-2.

“I’m very excited with how my season is going right now and I think I can do better, too,” Shiffrin said.

Here’s a feature 9News in Colorado published on Shiffrin on Sunday:

Bormio Slalom
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:00.41
2. Maria-Pietilae Holmner (SWE) 2:00.54
3. Nastasia Noens (FRA) 2:01.03
4. Bernadette Schild (AUT) 2:01.15
5. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 2:01.52
6. Marlies Schild (AUT) 2:01.55
7. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) 2:01.72
8. Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE) 2:01.75
9. Barbara Wirth (GER) 2:01.76
10. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) 2:01.85

Siberian man runs marathon in minus-36 degrees

2023 French Open women’s singles draw, scores

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At the French Open, Iga Swiatek of Poland eyes a third title at Roland Garros and a fourth Grand Slam singles crown overall.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Swiatek, the No. 1 seed from Poland, can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

Having turned 22 on Wednesday, she can become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Men’s Draw

But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.

No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seles won the 1996 Australian Open.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Women’s Singles Draw

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India wrestlers delay plan to throw medals in Ganges River as part of sexual abuse protest

India Wrestlers
Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat (center) is detained by the police while attempting to march to India's new parliament building on Sunday./Getty

India’s top wrestlers held off from throwing their medals into the country’s sacred Ganges River on Tuesday — as part of an ongoing protest against sexual harassment — after a community leader intervened and persuaded them against doing so.

The wrestlers, who have been demanding the resignation and arrest of the president of the wrestling federation for allegedly sexually harassing young female athletes, had said they would throw their medals into the river and then begin a hunger strike in the capital New Delhi.

The protest is being led by two women — Olympic medalist Sakshi Malik and world championships medalist Vinesh Phogat — as well as Olympic medalist Bajrang Punia, who is male. They reached the city of Haridwar in the evening, sat on the banks of the river and tearfully clutched their medals as a crowd gathered around them.

They changed their mind after Naresh Tikait, a community leader, reached the site and convinced the wrestlers to give the government five days to respond, local media reported.

“These medals are our life and soul. After we immerse them in the Ganga river, there would be no meaning for us to live. So we will go to India Gate and sit on a fast unto death,” the wrestlers had said in a statement released earlier Tuesday. The India Gate is a war memorial located in the heart of New Delhi.

The wrestlers, joined by hundreds of supporters, have been staging a protest in the center of New Delhi for a month, amid a brutal heatwave while foregoing their training schedules. The protest has drawn support from opposition parties and farmer unions as most of the Indian wrestlers come from the northern agricultural states of Haryana and Punjab.

They accuse Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the president of the Wrestling Federation of India, of sexually harassing seven young female wrestlers, one of whom was a minor. Singh, a 66-year-old powerful lawmaker representing the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has denied the accusations and called the protests “politically motivated” by the opposition Congress party.

On Sunday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Parliament building, police detained a number of protesting wrestlers, including Punia and Malik, who were attempting to march to the building. Some of the protesters scuffled with police and were taken away in a bus.

In their statement on Tuesday, the wrestlers said they were treated in “a barbaric manner” by the police and that their protest site was dismantled.

“Did we commit a crime by demanding justice for the sexual harassment committed against the female wrestlers? We have been treated like criminals,” they said. “We women wrestlers feel there is nothing left for us in this country.”

Phogat claimed in January that several coaches have exploited female wrestlers at the behest of the WFI president.

Indian police are investigating the allegations of sexual harassment against Singh, and he has been questioned in the case. India’s Supreme Court has also acknowledged that the case involves “serious allegations of sexual harassment,” but it has been met with silence from the ruling party leaders, including Modi.

After their initial protest in January, Indian Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur asked the president of the federation to step aside and help in carrying out the probe. He also said a committee would be set up to investigate the allegations and that a report would be released in four weeks.

But no report has been released in the months since while Singh continues to head the federation, prompting the wrestlers to resume their protest in April.

The case has again highlighted the #MeToo movement in India, which picked up pace in 2018 when a spate of actresses and writers flooded social media with allegations of sexual harassment and assault.

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