Future is now: Mikaela Shiffrin wins women’s slalom gold

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U.S. Alpine skiing’s great hope for the future has become an Olympic champion.

18-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin overcame a run-in with a gate on her second and final run to win the gold medal in the women’s slalom, posting a two-run time of 1:44.54 that was .53 of a second faster than three-time Olympic medalist and World Cup slalom legend Marlies Schild.

Shiffrin, who entered Sochi as the reigning World Cup and world champion in slalom, is now the youngest Olympic slalom gold medal winner – man or woman. She takes that distinction from Italian skier Paoletta Magoni (who was 19 when she won at Sarajevo in 1984).

VIDEO: How did Mikaela Shiffrin get to this point?

She is also the first American to win the women’s slalom since Barbara Ann Cochran won at Sapporo in 1972 by .02 of a second.

After the event, Shiffrin admitted that she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to pull it off. As relayed by Nathaniel Vinton of the New York Daily News:

Kathrin Zettel of Austria had the second-fastest last run to move from seventh to the bronze ahead of Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who won this event four years ago in Vancouver.

Schild herself moved from sixth to first with a scorching last run of 51.11 seconds. But Shiffrin still held the cards as the final top skier of the night.

VIDEO: Watch Shiffrin’s golden runs

All she needed was a clean run to win the gold. She didn’t quite have that with the tagging of the aforementioned gate, but she was able to power through.

Her second run time of 51.92 seconds was only sixth-quickest among those runs. But it was enough.

source: AP
Mikaela Shiffrin raises her arms in triumph after winning the women’s slalom gold. Photo: AP

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1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), 1:44.54
2. Marlies Schild (AUT), 1:45.07
3. Kathrin Zettel (AUT), 1:45.35

Gracie Gold qualifies for nationals, Polina Edmunds shut out

NBC Sports Gold
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2014 Olympian Gracie Gold qualified for the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships by virtue of a third-place finish at the Eastern Sectional Singles Final on Saturday in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

“Bronze: so hot this fall,” Gold posted on Instagram. She last competed at U.S. nationals in 2017, when she finished sixth. She won the national title in 2014 and 2016.

Gold sat second after the short program with 63.55 points, and ultimately finished third overall with 109.90 points in the free skate for 173.45 points. The top four at the event qualify for the national championships in Greensboro, North Carolina in January.

Her free skate included a fall on the opening triple Lutz and an under-rotation on the triple Lutz, double toe loop combination. She also put a hand down on the landing of a double Axel. The rest of the program, though, was clean.

Her performance, set to “She Used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, can be found at the 2:05 mark of the on-demand stream of the event for NBC Gold Pass subscribers.

Meanwhile, her Sochi teammate Polina Edmunds was shut out of nationals based on a fifth-place finish at the Pacific Coast Sectional Singles Final (top four qualify). Her performance can be found for NBC Gold Pass subscribers at the 1:50 mark of the on-demand stream for the event. Edmunds last competed at Nationals in 2016, when she earned the silver medal behind Gold.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Bronze: so hot this fall 🥉

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Brittany Bowe extends unbeaten streak to open speed skating World Cup

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Brittany Bowe extended one of the most dominant runs for any U.S. Winter Olympian, earning her first straight World Cup 1000m win to open the season on Sunday.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, clocked 1:15.35 in Minsk, Belarus, to beat PyeongChang gold medalist Jorien ter Mors by six tenths. Ter Mors missed all of last season after knee surgery.

Bowe won every World Cup 1000m dating to last December, plus her second world title in the event last February, lowering track records at each stop.

She ended last season by breaking the world record by .48 of a second on the fast ice of the 2002 Olympic oval in Kearns, Utah. That time — 1:11.61 — would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1997.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 23 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

The World Cup moves to Poland next week.

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