Bode Miller

Bode Miller, Julia Mancuso return as World Cup season continues

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Sochi’s Alpine stars are back in action as early as Friday for the resumption of World Cup races.

Bronze medalist Bode Miller, the most decorated Olympic skier in U.S. history, is slated for a downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, on Friday, the first of three straight days of racing at the site of the 1994 Olympics. Poor visibility canceled training Thursday.

If the weather brightens, Miller will take on a field including world champion Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, who will be looking to put an illness-filled, medal-less Olympics behind him.

Olympic giant slalom champion Ted Ligety will not race in Kvitfjell. He does not usually race downhills (Friday and Saturday) and opted out of coming over just for the super-G on Sunday.

The women’s tour resumes in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, with a downhill Saturday and a super combined Sunday. Olympic super combined bronze medalist Julia Mancuso is expected to race both days.

Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin is not racing, as she is a slalom and giant slalom specialist.

Swiss Lara Gut, the Sochi downhill bronze medalist, was fastest in downhill training Thursday. Also in the field are German Maria Hoefl-Riesch and Slovenian Tina Maze, the most decorated active women’s skiers.

What’s on the line the rest of the season?

Precious crystal globes that go to individual discipline winners (except combined) and for overall points. Skiers accumulate points based on finishes in each race (100 for the winner, 80 for second, 60 for third, etc.).

Here are standings through 25 of 34 men’s races:

Overall
1. Marcel Hirscher (AUT) 955 points
2. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 897
3. Alexis Pinturault (FRA) 774
4. Ted Ligety (USA) 629
5. Felix Neureuther (GER) 551
8. Bode Miller (USA) 449

Downhill (through six of nine races)
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 440
2. Hannes Reichelt (AUT) 360 — OUT (back surgery)
3. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 239
6. Bode Miller (USA) 185

Super-G (through four of six races)
1. Aksel Lund Svindal (NOR) 296
2. Didier Defago (SUI) 162
3. Patrick Kueng (SUI) 159
4. Bode Miller (USA) 138

Svindal can clinch the downhill and super-G season titles with strong finishes this weekend.

Here are standings through 24 of 33 women’s races:

Overall
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 1,079
2. Tina Weirather (LIE) 943 — OUT FOR SEASON (shin injury)
3. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 871
4. Lara Gut (SUI) 796
5. Tina Maze (SLO) 754
6. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 650

Downhill (through seven of nine races)
1. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 475
2. Tina Weirather (LIE) 400 — OUT FOR SEASON (shin injury)
3. Marianne Kaufmann-Abderhalden (SUI) 389
11. Stacey Cook (USA) 133
14. Julia Mancuso (USA) 121

Combined (through one of two races)
1. Marie-Michele Gagnon (CAN) 100
2. Michaela Kirchgasser (AUT) 80
3. Maria Hoefl-Riesch (GER) 60

Hoefl-Riesch can clinch the downhill season title with a win Saturday, or a lower finish with help. The women’s super combined season title will be determined Sunday as it is the final super combined of the season.

Video: Ligety, Shiffrin on late-night talk shows

WATCH LIVE: Nathan Chen in U.S. Figure Skating Championships free skate

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Nathan Chen tries to become the first man to win four straight U.S. figure skating titles since 1988, live on NBC Sports on Sunday.

NBC Sports Gold streams live coverage of the men’s free skate for subscribers starting at 2:30 p.m. ET in Greensboro, N.C. NBC joins with TV coverage at 3.

LIVE STREAM: Men’s Free Skate — Gold | NBC | Skate Order

Chen, a 20-year-old Yale sophomore, is undefeated since placing fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics. He can become the seventh man since World War II to win four straight national titles.

Five of the previous six went on to earn Olympic gold, including Dick ButtonScott Hamilton and, most recently, Brian Boitano in 1988.

Chen carries a substantial 13.14-point lead from Saturday’s short program, where he landed two quadruple jumps on one week of full training following a flu bout.

The anticipated drama Sunday comes in the battle for silver and bronze medals and the last two world championships team spots.

Jason BrownAndrew TorgashevVincent Zhou and Tomoki Hiwatashi are separated by 8.78 points. Brown, the 2015 U.S. champion, and Zhou, the 2019 World bronze medalist, are the only men in the field other than Chen with world team experience.

Key Skate Times
5:01 p.m. (ET) — Vincent Zhou
5:18 — Tomoki Hiwatashi
5:26 — Andrew Torgashev
5:35 — Nathan Chen
5:43 — Jason Brown

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NATIONALS: TV Schedule | Full Results

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.

Mikaela Shiffrin, with 66th World Cup win, moves one shy of career dream

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Mikaela Shiffrin has said one of her career dreams is to win in every discipline in one season. She is now one victory shy of realizing it.

Shiffrin earned her 66th World Cup victory — and her second in three days — at a super-G in Bansko, Bulgaria, on Sunday.

She prevailed by .29 of a second over Italian Marta Bassino and .70 over Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami. Gut-Behrami, the last skier other than Shiffrin to win a World Cup overall title back in 2016, earned her first podium in exactly one year.

Full results are here.

“Perfect weekend for me,” said Shiffrin, who moved one shy of recently retired Austrian Marcel Hirscher for third place on the World Cup career wins list. “The whole team is excited about the whole weekend, but especially today.”

She is en route to a fourth straight World Cup overall title. And she is a combined victory away from wins in all five disciplines in one season. Only Marc GirardelliPetra KronbergerJanica Kostelic and Tina Maze have done it.

“The thing that I’m most proud of right now is that I know how to win in slalom, [giant slalom], super-G and downhill, which I never expected that would really happen,” she said.

Shiffrin struggled with confidence during a winless stretch in early January, trying not to compare herself to last season, when she won a record 17 times. She still leads the men’s and women’s tours with six victories this season, a little more than halfway through.

“Every race is such a big fight, and I haven’t been the one on top of this fight every time,” she said. “Certainly I’ve been like sometimes the expectations that I have or that other people might have, I’m not quite living up to that. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like I’m failing sometimes, even though this is still just an incredible season.”

There are two combined races left this season for Shiffrin to achieve the dream — Feb. 23 in Switzerland and March 1 in Italy. While combined — mixing a speed run and a technical run — might seem perfect for Shiffrin, she has one victory in four starts in the discipline between the World Cup and Olympics.

And Shiffrin is careful about her race schedule. She is undecided on entering a downhill and super-G next weekend at the 2014 Olympic venue in Russia.

“After this weekend my brain is a little bit dead,” she joked.

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MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule