Mikaela Shiffrin wins 13th straight slalom

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin won her 13th straight slalom race, including her 10th straight on the World Cup, matching a women’s record in Killington, Vt., on Sunday.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion prevailed by .73 of a second after two runs at the first World Cup stop on the East Coast since 1991. Slovakia’s Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second, followed by Swiss Wendy Holdener. Full results are here.

Shiffrin said she woke up Sunday with a bad feeling, despite the streak.

“To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of fun today,” she told media in Killington. “I was nervous. It’s not the way that I like to ski race. I like to ski when I’m free and having fun with it. … It’s tough to race in front of a home crowd.”

Shiffrin, who is 21 years old and now has 21 career World Cup slalom wins, matched the women’s World Cup consecutive slalom wins record. Swiss Vreni Schneider and Croatian Janica Kostelic each captured 10 straight World Cup slaloms.

On the men’s side, Swede Ingemar Stenmark won 15 straight World Cup giant slalom starts from 1978 to 1980.

Shiffrin’s streak dates to 2015 and also includes two national championships and one world championship. However, Shiffrin missed five slaloms in the middle of last season due to a right knee injury.

“I don’t feel like [the full streak] counts because I missed half the season last year,” Shiffrin said after her previous win Nov. 12 in Levi, Finland, where her prize was a reindeer she named Sven. “There were other winners. I think my streak starts after I came back from injury.”

Shiffrin won this season’s first two slaloms by and .67 and .73, respectively. Last season, four of her five victories were by more than two seconds.

“My best skiing, I’m not even close to that yet,” she said Sunday.

Shiffrin increased her lead in the World Cup overall standings to 157 points. Defending World Cup overall champion Lara Gut of Switzerland skipped the Killington slalom after skiing out of the giant slalom Saturday. Gut is best at downhill and super-G.

The women’s World Cup continues with two downhills and a super-G in Lake Louise, Alberta, next weekend, which is slated to feature Shiffrin but not the injured Lindsey Vonn.

VIDEO: Vonn details return timetable

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated Vreni Schneider won 12 straight slaloms. She won 10 straight, her streak snapped by failing to finish a race.

Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian come forward as Larry Nassar survivors

Kyla Ross, Madison Kocian
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kyla Ross and Madison Kocian said they are survivors of Larry Nassar‘s sexual abuse, making it seven out of eight gymnasts between the last two Olympic champion teams to come forward.

Ross, a 2012 Olympian, and Kocian, a 2016 Olympian, spoke at “CBS This Morning” on Thursday.

“It was such a normalized thing that, between us, we didn’t think any different of it,” Kocian said. “We were told that it was a medical procedure. A lot of us had back injuries or hamstring injuries. That was our only option because he was our team doctor. That was our only avenue to accomplish our Olympic dreams. So, if we were to speak up, you probably wouldn’t have been in consideration for making that team.”

Ross said she wants an apology from USA Gymnastics.

“At first, hearing all the news about Larry, I really was in denial of it ever happening to me,” she said. “When I was 13, when it first happened to me, I believed that it was a legitimate form of treatment, but as the years have gone on and hearing all the impact statements of all the girls that have come forward already, I’ve realized that it was something terrible that happened to us.”

Previously, all of Ross’ London Olympic teammates said they are survivors — Gabby DouglasMcKayla MaroneyAly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber. And three of Kocian’s four Rio Olympic teammates — Simone Biles, Douglas and Raisman.

“It was almost like a family member, and on international trips he would bring us food or he would just kind of be the person that would always ask how are you doing, because the culture that was at the Karolyi ranch was a culture of fear, a culture of silence,” Kocian said. “That’s what let him to be able to abuse us.”

Ross and Kocian are rising juniors on UCLA’s gymnastics team. They are not competing on the elite level and thus not entered in this week’s U.S. Gymnastics Championships.

Ross earned world all-around silver and bronze medals in 2013 and 2014. Kocian is an Olympic uneven bars silver medalist and 2015 World champion on bars.

“USA Gymnastics’ support is unwavering for Kyla, Madison and all athletes who courageously came forward to share their experiences,” USA Gymnastics said in a statement, according to CBS. “Their powerful voices and stories will continue to be a basis for our future decisions.”

Nassar, 55, will likely never get out of prison. Once his 60-year federal term for child porn possession ends, he would begin serving the 40- to 175-year sentence in state prison after at least 169 women and girls provided statements in his January sentencing.

Athletes accused him of sexually abusing them under the guise of medical treatment, including while he worked for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Yelena Shushunova, 1988 Olympic all-around champion, dies at 49

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Yelena Shushunova, the 1988 Olympic all-around champion, died Thursday at age 49, according to Russia’s gymnastics federation.

Shushunova died of complications from pneumonia, a Russia gymnastics federation official said, according to TASS.

Shushunova earned two golds, a silver and a bronze at the Seoul 1988 Games at age 19. She beat Romanian Daniela Silivas by .025 of a point in the all-around, needing and scoring a 10 on her final apparatus on vault.

Shushunova and Silivas each tallied seven 10s at those Games, matching Nadia Comaneci‘s record from the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

Shushunova also earned 11 medals between the 1985 and 1987 World Championships in one of the most impressive Olympic cycles for a gymnast.

She made the Soviet national team in time for the 1984 Olympics, but the nation boycotted the Los Angeles Games.