Tina Maze nears history; Lindsey Vonn emotional after DNF (video)

Tina Maze
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Maze, 31, prevailed by .22 of a second combining downhill and slalom runs Monday. Austrians were second, third and fourth. Nicole Hosp, also 31, earned silver, just as she did in Sochi. Michaela Kirchgasser held off super-G champion Anna Fenninger for bronze. (full results here)

Maze skied the fastest morning downhill run and the fifth fastest afternoon slalom run. She added this title to her downhill gold and super-G silver from last week and celebrated with a cartwheel in the finish area.

“It was really a lot of pressure on me today,” Maze, who skis with the Slovenian national anthem’s words on her suit, said in a press conference. “I felt that I have to do this. It’s not easy to race like that. I was really nervous before the slalom.”

Maze, the World Cup overall leader who may retire after this season, is hoping to become the first woman to win five individual medals at a single World Championships. Only one man has done it — Norway’s Lasse Kjus in 1999.

“I’m more than halfway, so three is done, missing two more,” Maze told NBC Sports’ Carolyn Manno. “I hope I can do it, for sure. It’s not easy.”

What are Maze’s chances in the two remaining individual events? She’s slated for the giant slalom Thursday and the slalom Saturday.

In the giant slalom, Maze is ranked fifth in this season’s World Cup standings. But she dug out of a hole after placing 22nd in the season-opening giant slalom on Oct. 25 with finishes of fourth, first and seventh in the three most recent giant slaloms. She’s also the Sochi Olympic giant slalom champion.

In the slalom, Maze is ranked third in the World Cup standings with podium finishes in three of the six competitions this season. Slalom is the only discipline in which Maze has never won a World Championships medal.

The World Championships continue with the mixed-gender team event Tuesday. That will be Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin‘s debut at these Worlds.

World Championships broadcast schedule

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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