Mikaela Shiffrin wins 13th straight slalom

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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.

Jennifer Valente takes silver in world cycling championship scratch race

Jennifer Valente
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Jennifer Valente won the first medal for the U.S. team in the world track cycling championships Wednesday in Berlin, finishing second behind Dutch cyclist Kirsten Wild in the scratch race.

Wild won the mass-start event for the third time, having taken gold in 2015 and 2018, and her seventh world championship in all track cycling disciplines. She also took silver in the 2016 world championship road race.

Valente also joined Chloé Dygert, Emma White and Lily Williams in women’s team pursuit qualifying, posting the fastest time of the day and easily qualifying for the semifinals on Thursday. The U.S. team has been in transition with the retirement of Sarah Hammer and the death of Kelly Catlin, who committed suicide in March. Hammer, Catlin, Dygert and Valente took silver in the 2016 Olympics.

READ: Dygert aims for road and track double in Tokyo

The Netherlands took two of the three gold medals on Wednesday’s program, beating Britain to win the men’s team sprint. Germany beat Australia to win the women’s team sprint.

READ: Track cycling broadcast and streaming schedule

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Tokyo organizers, IOC going ahead as planned with Olympics

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TOKYO (AP) — A spokesman for the Japanese government on Wednesday said the International Olympic Committee and local organizers are going as planned with the Tokyo Olympics.

The comments from spokesman Yoshihide Suga follow the assertion by IOC veteran Dick Pound that organizers face a three-month window to decide the fate of the Games.

READ: Pound cites time needed to ramp up operations

The Olympics are set to open on July 24 with 11,000 athletes. The Paralympics open Aug. 25 with 4,400.

Also Wednesday, Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto abruptly called a news conference to address Pound’s comments.

“Our basic thoughts are that we will go ahead with the Olympic and Paralympic Games as scheduled,” Muto said, speaking in Japanese. “For the time being, the situation of the coronavirus infection is, admittedly, difficult to predict, but we will take measures such that we’ll have a safe Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Muto added: ““That the end of May is the time limit, we have never thought of this or heard of such a comment. So when we asked about this, we received a response saying that is not the position of the IOC.”

Muto also allowed for the possibility of downsizing the Olympic torch relay but insisted it will not be canceled.

Pound told the Associated Press that the fast-spreading virus could cancel the Olympics. Suga says Pound’s opinion does not reflect the official view of the IOC, which has repeatedly said there are no plans to cancel or postpone the Tokyo Games.

“With regard to this member’s comment, the IOC has responded that this is not their official position, and that IOC is proceeding with preparations toward the games as scheduled,” Suga said, speaking in Japanese at his daily news conference.

Pound is a former IOC vice-president and a member since 1978, and was the founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He also represented Canada as a swimmer at the Olympics.

In a telephone interview from Montreal, Pound said the IOC has a three-month window to decide, and suggested other options like moving events of postponing seemed less likely.

“In and around that time,” he said, “I’d say folks are going to have to ask: ‘Is this under sufficient control that we can be confident about going to Tokyo or now?”‘

If the IOC decides the games cannot go forward as scheduled in Tokyo, “you’re probably looking at a cancellation,” said Pound, who added that he was not commenting on behalf of the IOC.

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