Lindsey Vonn’s standings lead sliced in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

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Lindsey Vonn finished seventh in a World Cup downhill race Saturday and lost more than half of her standings lead in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Vonn was 1.4 seconds slower than Liechtenstein winner Tina Weirather, who stood on top of a World Cup podium for the first time since Dec. 22, 2013.

Of more concern to Vonn was Austrian Anna Fenninger, who took second, .51 behind, and moved from 79 points behind Vonn in the World Cup downhill standings to a deficit of 35.

There is one more World Cup downhill left this season, in two weeks at the World Cup Finals in Meribel, France. If Vonn and Fenninger repeat their results from Saturday, Fenninger will win the downhill season title by nine points.

“I’ve never skied Meribel before,” Vonn told media in Garmisch. “I’m at a bit of a disadvantage.”

Vonn captured six straight World Cup downhill titles from 2008 through 2013 before missing almost all of the 2014 season due to knee surgeries. She is one shy of Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell‘s record of seven season titles.

Vonn had finished no worse than second in three previous downhills at Garmisch, where she formerly stayed during Christmas holidays.

Also Saturday, Fenninger, the reigning World Cup overall champion, gained 20 points on this season’s World Cup overall leader, Slovenian Tina Maze.

Fenninger is now within 24 points of Maze with seven scheduled races left, beginning with a super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Sunday.

In men’s action Saturday, Austrian Hannes Reichelt won a downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway. Reichelt moved within 20 points of Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud for that World Cup season title with one downhill left.

Travis Ganong was the top American in sixth. Austrians have won five straight men’s World Cup races.

U.S. Paralympic stars rack up more medals at IPC Alpine Worlds

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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