Career-best speed result for Mikaela Shiffrin

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CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — Lara Gut crashed. Mikaela Shiffrin was ecstatic after finishing fourth. Lindsey Vonn, meanwhile, was just happy to make it down safely in 12th.

It was an up-and-down day for the biggest names in women’s ski racing Sunday as Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia took advantage of bib No. 1 to win the first World Cup super-G of her career.

Stuhec finished 0.31 seconds ahead of Sofia Goggia of Italy and 0.70 in front of two-time overall champion Anna Veith of Austria.

Gut, the defending overall champion, was fastest through the first two checkpoints when she lost control and twisted around in the air. She was fortunate to land with her skis facing downhill and came away with only bruises on her right leg and arm, according to the Swiss team.

“That’s not the way I expected to end my weekend,” Gut, who won Saturday’s downhill, wrote on Facebook. “I’m OK. Ice will be my best friend for the next few days.”

Shiffrin missed the podium by 0.03 seconds and extended her overall lead to 80 points ahead of Gut after the best speed result of her career.

The American’s previous best speed result was 13th.

“That was really fun,” said Shiffrin, the Olympic and two-time world champion in slalom. “It felt like solid skiing, and I was taking the line that we inspected and maybe even more aggressive in some spots.

“Sometimes in speed if you feel good you’re slow, so when I came to the bottom, I was like, ‘That can’t be good.’ Then I saw I was in fourth and I was like, ‘What? No way,'” added Shiffrin, who was racing in Cortina for the first time. “So that was kind of cool, and I’m going to really look at the video and figure out what sort of things I can take from today.”

It was another perfect day in the resort known as the “Queen” of the Dolomites Range, with the Olympia delle Tofane course bathed in sunshine and uninhibited 360-degree views all across the valley.

While her coach, Chris Knight, set the course, Vonn took it easy after crashing the previous two days. Vonn, who has won a record 11 races in Cortina, is still regaining her form in super-G after returning recently from nearly a year out with knee and arm injuries.

It was the first time Vonn left Cortina without a win since 2009.

“It definitely wasn’t the weekend that I was hoping for, but I think all things considered it’s good that I’m still in one piece,” Vonn said. “It was definitely really conservative skiing, but I got to the finish and that was the most important part.

“I really didn’t want to risk everything today and not finish again and then have no confidence for the world championships,” Vonn added. “So I executed my plan, and now I just need a couple of days off. I’m definitely stiff from hitting the fence so hard two times in a row. Get a couple good days of super-G training in and I think I’ll be ready to go.”

Stuhec won the opening three downhills of this season but had never finished better than fourth in super-G.

“It wasn’t a usual super-G,” Stuhec said. “It was faster with a few less turns, but in the end you need to ski whatever they set.”

With her ninth podium result this season, Goggia matched the Italian women’s team record of nine set by Deborah Compagnoni in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

Goggia is still seeking her first career win.

“I skied at 70-75 percent of what I can do,” Goggia said. “I was coming off two DNFs in super-G, so I’m happy with the result and I know I can push harder and harder. … I’m just thinking about skiing and doing the right things, and then the win will come.”

It was the first podium result for Veith since she returned in December, 14 months after badly damaging her right knee in a training crash.

Veith, formerly known as Anna Fenninger, achieved the first podium result of her career in a super-G in Cortina in 2009.

“It’s not exactly the same feeling, but it was nearly the same because it was also surprising for me,” Veith said. “I knew I could ski fast, but I had only had fast split times. Today I put together the entire run, and I’m happy that it was enough.”

Still recovering from hip surgery, Julia Mancuso delayed her return after nearly two years out and tested the course instead as a forerunner.

Up next is a parallel city event in Stockholm on Tuesday — the final race before the world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, from Feb. 7-19.

MORE: Lately, Lindsey Vonn is crashing more than she’s winning

Gaon Choi breaks Chloe Kim record, youngest X Games snowboard halfpipe champion

Gaon Choi
Jamie Schwaberow/X Games
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South Korean Gaon Choi broke Chloe Kim‘s record as the youngest X Games snowboard halfpipe champion, winning at age 14 on Saturday in Aspen, Colorado.

Choi, the world junior champion, landed three different 900s in her third of four runs to overtake two-time U.S. Olympian Maddie Mastro. She then landed a frontside 1080 in her fourth run.

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

Choi became the first Winter X Games medalist for South Korea, a nation with a best Olympic halfpipe finish of 14th. She is six months younger than Kim was when Kim won the first of her five X Games Aspen halfpipe titles in 2015.

Kim, the daughter of South Korean immigrants, is a mentor to Choi, according to organizers.

“I began snowboarding because of Chloe Kim and now almost being near her level when she was 14, it feels weird that I can see a possibility that I would go beyond her some day,” Choi said through a translator, according to organizers. “I’m already starting to look forward to the next Olympics.”

Kim, the only woman to land back-to-back 1080s in a contest, is taking this season off after repeating as Olympic champion but plans to return ahead of the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Mastro, who was 12th and 13th at the last two Olympics, landed her patented double crippler (two back flips) on two of her runs, but it wasn’t enough. She was the last woman to beat Kim at the 2019 U.S. Open.

Earlier, American Colby Stevenson earned his second X Games ski slopestyle title, one year after taking silver in ski big air’s Olympic debut. Stevenson, who was one millimeter from brain damage in a 2016 car crash, capped his first two of four runs with 1620s, according to commentators, taking the lead for good after the latter.

American Alex Hall, the Olympic slopestyle champion, was seventh.

Later, Zoe Atkin became the first British female skier to win an X Games title, taking the halfpipe in the absence of Olympic champion Eileen Gu of China. Atkin had two 720s in her fourth and final run to overtake Olympic bronze medalist Rachael Karker of Canada.

Atkin, the 20-year-old and Stanford student and younger sister of 2018 Olympic slopestyle bronze medalist Izzy Atkin, was ninth at the Olympics and never previously won an X Games medal.

Gu withdrew on Friday with a knee injury from a training crash.

ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin on grief, loss, finding motivation

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Madison Chock, Evan Bates win historic U.S. ice dance title for figure skaters in their 30s

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Madison Chock and Evan Bates won their fourth national ice dance title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and made all sorts of longevity history.

Chock and Bates, fourth at the Olympics and third at last March’s world championships, totaled 229.75 points between the rhythm dance and free dance. They prevailed by 22.29 over Caroline Green and Michael Parsons, the largest margin of victory in a U.S. ice dance since it was shortened from three programs to two in 2011.

“This is probably the best we’ve ever skated in our careers,” Bates said on NBC. “I think that’s the statement that we wanted to make.”

Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko took bronze but are likely to be left off the three-couple team for March’s world championships in favor of Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, last year’s U.S. bronze medalists who planned to petition for a worlds spot after withdrawing before nationals citing mental health.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, the top U.S. couple at the 2022 Olympics (bronze) and 2022 Worlds (silver), retired after last season.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

Chock, 30, and Bates, 33, who are engaged, became the first dance couple in their 30s to win a U.S. title in the modern era (at least the last 50 years).

Chock and Bates made the nationals podium for an 11th consecutive year, one shy of the record for any discipline.

Bates, who last year became the oldest U.S. champion in any discipline in decades, has made 13 career senior nationals podiums with Chock and former partner Emily Samuelson. It is believed that breaks the U.S. record for a single discipline that he shared with Michelle KwanNathaniel Niles and Theresa Weld Blanchard.

Those records matter less to Chock and Bates than what they’re hoping is a career first in March: a world championships gold medal.

They earned silver or bronze a total of three times. All of the teams that beat them at last year’s Olympics and worlds aren’t competing this season, but Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier defeated Chock and Bates at December’s Grand Prix Final, which is a sort-of dress rehearsal for worlds.

“If we don’t win gold at worlds, we’ll be disappointed,” Bates, whose first senior nationals in 2008 came when new U.S. women’s singles champion Isabeau Levito was 10 months old, said earlier this month. “We’ve set the goal for ourselves in he past and haven’t met it yet.”

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