Mikaela Shiffrin finishes 15th, 16th in super-Gs in Colorado

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin finished 15th and 16th in two super-G races in Copper Mountain, Colo., on Wednesday, her second and third times competing in super-G since 2010.

Shiffrin, 19 and the youngest Olympic slalom champion ever, hopes to start racing super-Gs on the top-level World Cup circuit this winter. Super-Gs require faster skiing than Shiffrin’s two regular disciplines, slalom and giant slalom, which emphasize turns with more gates.

Her results Wednesday, in FIS races against shallower fields than World Cups, showed that adding speed is no easy endeavour.

“[Tuesday], I felt really awesome [in training], but today I took my foot off the gas little bit on the first run,” Shiffrin said, according to Ski Racing Magazine. “On the second run, I got more air than I anticipated, and I didn’t know how to handle that. I’m trying to take it all in stride and learn as much as I can.”

Shiffrin’s aim before Wednesday was to make her World Cup super-G debut in Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 21. The 15th- and 16th-place finishes, while more than one second behind the winners, essentially qualified her to be eligible for Val d’Isere.

“We’ll see. I have some stuff to work on in my slalom — and my GS, too. We’ll see if it ends up working out,” Shiffrin said, according to Ski Racing. “The goal was to give myself a chance, and I think I’ll be able to do that now. … I think it’s a little dream that I have to race the World Championship super-G [in Beaver Creek, Colo., in February] so I can race three races in my hometown — that would be so cool. But I don’t really want to race unless I have a shot at winning.”

Shiffrin won her first World Cup giant slalom race Oct. 25, her first race of the season. She finished 11th in her second race of the season, a slalom in Levi, Finland, on Saturday. Shiffrin won in Levi in 2013 and had prevailed in four of the final five slaloms last season.

U.S. veteran speed racers Laurenne Ross and Alice McKennis beat Shiffrin in both races Wednesday. Neither Lindsey Vonn nor Julia Mancuso competed.

No more than four skiers per nation can race in each World Championships event. Even if Shiffrin wants to compete in the World Championships super-G, she has her work cut out.

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Mo Farah likely to retire this year

Mo Farah
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British track legend Mo Farah will likely retire by the end of this year.

“I’m not going to go to the Olympics, and I think 2023 will probably be my last year,” the 39-year-old Farah said, according to multiple British media reports.

Farah, who swept the 5000m and 10,000m golds at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016, was announced Tuesday as part of the field for the London Marathon on April 23.

Last May, Farah reportedly said he believed his career on the track was over, but not the roads.

London might not be his last marathon. Farah also said that if, toward the end of this year, he was capable of being picked to run for Britain again, he would “never turn that down,” according to Tuesday’s reports.

It’s not clear if Farah was referencing the world track and field championships, which include a marathon and are in Budapest in August. Or selection for the 2024 British Olympic marathon team.

The fastest British male marathoner last year ran 2:10:46, ranking outside the top 300 in the world. Farah broke 2:10 in all five marathons that he’s finished, but he hasn’t run one since October 2019 (aside from pacing the 2020 London Marathon).

Farah withdrew four days before the last London Marathon on Oct. 2, citing a right hip injury.

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah’s best London Marathon finish in four starts was third place in 2018.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

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Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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