Mikaela Shiffrin wins 30th World Cup race, closes in on overall title

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Mikaela Shiffrin notched her 30th career World Cup win, and 10th this season, taking a giant slalom in Squaw Valley, Calif., and moving closer to her first World Cup overall title on Friday.

Shiffrin, who turns 22 on Monday, prevailed by .07 of a second after two runs in Squaw Valley, which is hosting its first World Cup races since 1969. Italian Federica Brignone was second, followed by world giant slalom champion Tessa Worley of France.

Shiffrin, who led by two tenths over Worley after the first run, had a tumultuous second run. She moved from .99 ahead of Brignone after the first run to 1.14 ahead at the first split of the second run. Near the bottom, she trailed by .03 before squeaking out the win.

The normally understated Shiffrin celebrated by pumping her first and tossing a ski pole, inciting the crowd.

“Because I’m in the U.S.,” Shiffrin said in a finish-area interview. “I’m in the U.S.A.! Ah!”

Full Results | Run 2 Replay

Shiffrin added another 100 points to her World Cup overall lead. Her closest challenger, Slovenian Ilka Stuhec, crashed in her first run.

Shiffrin now leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by 278 points with five races left this season.

She will almost surely clinch the crown next week at the World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., becoming the fifth American champion after Phil MahreTamara McKinneyBode Miller and Lindsey Vonn.

Shiffrin, now the second American after Vonn to win 10 times in one season, can become the youngest World Cup overall champion since Croatian Janica Kostelic in 2003.

Shiffrin is the favorite in Saturday’s slalom in Squaw Valley, live on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app starting at 1 p.m. ET.

Shiffrin reached 30 World Cup wins in her 102nd World Cup start. Vonn, the women’s record holder with 77 World Cup wins, reached 30 wins at age 25.

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U.S. Olympic, USA Gymnastics leaders set for another Senate hearing

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Recently replaced U.S. Olympic Committee acting CEO Susanne Lyons, USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry and Michigan State interim president John Engler are scheduled witnesses for a Senate subcommittee hearing next Tuesday on reforms following the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse crimes.

The hearing is titled, “Strengthening and Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes: Moving Forward with Solutions” and will stream live at https://www.commerce.senate.gov/ on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. ET.

“The hearing will focus on changes made by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics (USAG), and Michigan State University (MSU) to protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse,” according to the subcommittee’s website. “It will examine recent reforms to provide safe environments for athletes and how these reforms are being implemented.”

The subcommittee held hearings April 18 and June 5 with testimonies from gymnasts and other athletes who were abused, former Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon and former senior vice president of USA Gymnastics Rhonda Faehn. Former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny also attended the June 5 hearing but refused to answer questions.

Lyons and Perry were questioned at a House subcommittee hearing May 23.

The USOC last Thursday named Sarah Hirshland its new CEO, replacing Lyons, who had been in the role on an interim basis since Scott Blackmun resigned in February. Blackmun, who had been CEO since January 2010, left citing prostate cancer and the USOC’s need to immediately address the USA Gymnastics sexual-abuse scandal.

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Annemiek van Vleuten wins La Course with epic comeback (video)

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Annemiek van Vleuten, the cyclist who returned from a horrific Rio Olympic road race crash to become world champion, repeated as La Course winner with an epic last-kilometer comeback on Tuesday.

Van Vleuten sprinted from several seconds behind countrywoman Anna van der Breggen to win the one-day race, including four categorized climbs, contested on part of the Tour de France stage 10 course later that day.

“With 300 meters to go, I still thought I got second, and then I saw her dying,” Van Vleuten said, adding later, according to Cyclingnews.com, “With 500 meters to go my team director in the car gave up and stopped cheering for me.”

In Rio, van Vleuten suffered three small spine fractures and a concussion when her brakes appeared to lock, and she flipped over into a ditch during the road race. Van Vleuten was alone in the lead at the time with about seven miles to go of the 87-mile course.

She was eventually hospitalized in intensive care.

Van der Breggen went on to win the Olympic title, while van Vleuten returned quick enough to race at the October 2016 World Championships.

Van Vleuten, 35, won her first world title 13 months after the Rio Games, taking the time trial crown ahead of van der Breggen by 12 seconds. She also won the 10-stage Giro Rosa that concluded on Sunday.

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