Mikaela Shiffrin

No medal for Mikaela Shiffrin in World Championships opener

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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.

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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MORE: Olympic aerials champion retires to coach

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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