Marcel Hirscher

Marcel Hirscher wins Adelboden giant slalom (video); Ted Ligety’s title hopes dented

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Marcel Hirscher won his third straight World Cup giant slalom race Saturday and distanced himself from Olympic champion Ted Ligety in the season standings with just three races left in the discipline.

Hirscher prevailed by a comfy 1.13 seconds over France’s Alexis Pinturault. Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen was third. Ligety finished seventh, 1.86 back, in Adelboden, Switzerland.

Hirscher, 25, won his 29th career World Cup race (joint eighth all-time) and increased his World Cup overall standings lead to 152 points over Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud.

The Austrian, who does not own an Olympic gold medal and has said he can’t see himself competing through the 2018 Olympics, is going for an unprecedented fourth straight World Cup overall title.

Ligety is more concerned with the World Cup giant slalom title, combining results over eight races this season. Ligety has won that crown four of the last five years and finished in the top three the last seven seasons.

For the first time this season, Ligety does not control his own destiny in the title race. Hirscher now leads the American by 138 points through five of eight races.

Winners receive 100 points per race. Second place receives 80 points. Even if Ligety wins the next three giant slaloms, Hirscher could finish in third place each time and still win the World Cup giant slalom title.

In Hirscher’s last 26 World Cup giant slalom starts, he has finished third or better 23 times and fourth or better 25 times.

The men’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a slalom — Hirscher’s best discipline — in Adelboden on Sunday.

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Justin Schoenefeld gets U.S.’ first men’s aerials World Cup win in 4 years

Justin Schoenefeld
U.S. Ski & Snowboard
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Justin Schoenefeld ended a four-year U.S. men’s aerials drought with his first World Cup win Saturday in Belarus.

Schoenfeld, 21, hit a double full-full-full in the super final to beat a field that included world champion Maxim Burov of Russia. Burov was fourth, one spot behind another American, Chris Lillis. Full results are here.

“I’m pretty speechless right now,” Schoenefeld said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m just shocked. It just all came so quick, all of a sudden the two finals were over, and I was on top of the podium. I probably landed two of my training jumps yesterday, but I managed to land all of my comp jumps down to my feet.”

Schoenefeld’s best previous World Cup finish was fourth, in Belarus last season.

Lillis earned the U.S.’ last World Cup men’s aerials victory on Feb. 20, 2016, also in Belarus. The four-year gap between wins marked the longest for the U.S. men since aerials was added as an Olympic medal sport in 1994.

Schoenefeld also became the first American of either gender to win a World Cup aerials event in two years, since Kiley McKinnon on Jan. 6, 2018. That gap was the longest for the U.S. since 2005.

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Kaillie Humphries wins bobsled world title in first season for U.S.

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Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries won a bobsled world title in her first season since switching allegiance from Canada to the U.S., ending recent German dominance.

Humphries, with brakewoman Lauren Gibbs, edged German junior world champ Kim Kalicki by .37 of a second combining times from four runs between Friday and Saturday in Altenberg, Germany.

“I love this track. It’s very challenging, one of the hardest in the world,” Humphries said, according to U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton. “It demands a lot of focus, a lot of respect every minute you’re on that track. So to be able to win here, I know the Germans and the spectators, everybody, have worked so hard and this week, no exceptions. I’m proud of all of the girls.”

Canadian Christine de Bruin took bronze for a second straight year. Full results are here.

Humphries, who married a former U.S. bobsledder, was released by Canada in September after filing verbal abuse and harassment claims against a coach, saying she no longer felt safe with the program. As a Canadian, Humphries won 2010 and 2014 Olympic titles, plus 2012 and 2013 World titles.

Humphries joined German Sandra Kiriasis as the only female drivers to win three world titles. She is already the only female driver with multiple Olympic titles.

German Mariama Jamanka, the reigning Olympic champion and defending world champion, finished fourth in Altenberg.

Triple U.S. Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor didn’t compete as she sits out the season due to pregnancy. Meyers Taylor and Gibbs teamed for silver in PyeongChang.

The world championships continue Sunday with the conclusion of the two-man competition. German Francesco Friedrich, eyeing his sixth straight world title, leads after the first two of four runs.

A full TV and live stream schedule is here.

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