No medal for Mikaela Shiffrin in World Championships opener

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin did her job in her first event of the World Alpine Skiing Championships, but the U.S. lost in the quarterfinals of the team event in Vail, Colo., on Tuesday.

Shiffrin, the reigning Olympic, World and World Cup slalom champion, prevailed in her two matchups in the team event, which includes dueling slalom runs.

Shiffrin beat Finland’s Merle Soppela and Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmner by a combined .11 of a second. In the quarterfinals, Sweden knocked out the U.S. team — with Shiffrin, Ted Ligety, David Chodounsky and Paula Moltzan.

Shiffrin, 19, is just getting started at the World Championships. She is a medal contender in the giant slalom Thursday — slated to be her first time racing against Lindsey Vonn in more than two years — and the gold medal-favorite in the slalom Saturday.

The U.S. has never won a medal in the World Championships team event, which debuted in 2005 and may join the Olympic program.

On Tuesday, Austria won gold in the team event, which means Marcel Hirscher has a shot to become the third skier to win four gold medals at a single World Championships.

Austrian Toni Sailer and France’s Jean-Claude Killy each won four golds when they swept all the races at the 1956 and 1968 Worlds, respectively*. That was before the super-G and team event were added to the Worlds program.

Hirscher, who won the super combined Sunday, is slated for the giant slalom Friday and slalom Sunday. Hirscher is the World Cup leader in the giant slalom and the defending World champion in the slalom.

Canada earned silver in the team event, with Sweden taking the bronze.

World Alpine Skiing Championships broadcast schedule

*Clarification: Sailer and Killy won three races and also earned golds in the combined, which wasn’t a separate race at those World Championships but the addition of the results from the downhill and slalom events.