Mikaela Shiffrin extends historic slalom winning streak

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Make it three wins in three days for Mikaela Shiffrin, and 15 wins in her last 15 slalom starts. Oh yeah, she’s sick, too.

The world’s hottest skier topped the World Cup field in Semmering, Austria, by .64 of a second over two runs on Thursday. The Sochi Olympic slalom champion followed up giant slalom victories on Tuesday and Wednesday in Semmering.

Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova was second, followed by Swiss Wendy Holdener. Shiffrin led Zuzulova by .09 after the first run but had fallen .33 behind the Slovak in the second before making up nearly a second in the final 20 seconds of the course.

“Every gate I thought I was giving it away, but I was starting to fight,” she said.

Shiffrin had screamed after recent victories, but this time she put her glove to her mouth in apparent disbelief. Shiffrin called Thursday’s win her toughest of the this week’s triple.

“The past races, it’s been mostly nerves when I get to the start, but I don’t know what’s happening and all of a sudden I feel really, really sick,” she said. “Today, actually, I am sick. And the past two days I’ve been sick. So I wasn’t sure if I was sick like I have the flu or if I was sick because of nerves. It was a weird thing today. I was OK for my run, for the second half of my run, so it’s good.”

RESULTS | RUN 2 REPLAY

Shiffrin has now won her last 15 slalom starts, including her last 12 World Cup slalom starts, the longest women’s streak in any World Cup discipline in history. Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell won 11 straight downhills from 1972-74. Shiffrin also bagged a world title and two national titles during her unbeaten run.

A caveat: Shiffrin missed five World Cup slaloms last season due to a knee injury. Since that absence, Shiffrin has won seven straight World Cup slaloms, which is one shy of the consecutive slaloms record shared by Croatian Janica Kostelic and Swiss Vreni Schneider.

Shiffrin can match those legends in the next World Cup race, a slalom in Zagreb on Tuesday (NBCSN and NBCSports.com/live, 10 a.m. ET). Shiffrin won the last two times the Zagreb race was held in 2013 and 2015.

Big picture, Shiffrin boosted her World Cup overall standings lead to 215 points over Swiss Lara Gut through 15 of a scheduled 37 races. She has six wins this season, the most by one skier in a campaign before New Year’s Day since Bode Miller in 2004.

Shiffrin has downplayed talk of going for the overall title — she even skipped speed races earlier this month — but she could become the third U.S. woman to take the biggest annual crown in ski racing (Tamara McKinneyLindsey Vonn).

MORE: Bode Miller plans to race next season, U.S. coach says

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

ALPINE SKIING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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