Mikaela Shiffrin three-peats in world championships slalom

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With the largest margin of victory in 47 years, Mikaela Shiffrin became the first woman in 78 years to win three straight world titles in the slalom.

The 21-year-old boosted her bid next year to become the first skier of either gender to repeat as Olympic slalom champion.

Shiffrin prevailed by a monstrous 1.64 seconds combining two runs over Swiss Wendy Holdener in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday. Swede Frida Hansdotter earned bronze.

Shiffrin doubled over in disbelief looking toward the scoreboard after crossing the finish line, jaw agape, before covering her mouth with her glove. Then she turned toward the crowd and screamed while raising her arms three times.

“I didn’t see my time until I got all the way through and I knew I had a good run, but I didn’t know it was that good until I saw the time,” Shiffrin said, according to the International Ski Federation. “Three [gold] medals is great, but today is really special today for me because I finally skied this the way I wanted to, and that’s what means a lot to me today.”

The 1.64-second margin was the largest in any women’s event at worlds since 1970, according to ski-db.com.

“Oh my god,” were Shiffrin’s first words picked up by finish-area microphones, before she congratulated Holdener on her super combined title the previous week.

She had the fastest first run by .38 and the fastest second run by .85.

“There was no beating Mikaela today,” Holdener said.

FULL RESULTS | RACE REPLAY

NBC will air women’s slalom coverage Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The world championships conclude with the men’s slalom Sunday (3:45 and 7 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

The only other skiers to earn three world titles in the slalom were Swede Ingemar Stenmark (1978-82, with one of those doubling as the Olympics) and German Christel Cranz, who earned five crowns from 1934 through 1939.

Earlier at worlds, Shiffrin earned her first major giant slalom medal, a silver behind Frenchwoman Tessa Worley on Thursday.

Shiffrin only entered those two events in St. Moritz, but she could race all five individual events at the PyeongChang Olympics. Three years ago, Shiffrin memorably (regrettably) blurted out in an early-morning, dreary-eyed press conference after winning her Olympic slalom title that she dreamed of winning five gold medals in 2018.

She has since slowly picked up the speed events of super-G and downhill. Shiffrin was fourth in her most recent World Cup super-G, but has only raced two World Cup downhills with a best finish of 13th.

She will return to the World Cup circuit next week, en route to becoming the third U.S. woman to claim the overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing. Tamara McKinney and Lindsey Vonn are the others,

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MORE: PyeongChang 2018 daily schedule highlights

Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

Mark McMorris
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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

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.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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