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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Tokyo Paralympic medals unveiled with historic Braille design, indentations

Tokyo Paralympic Medals
Tokyo 2020
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The Tokyo Paralympic medals, which like the Olympic medals are created in part with metals from recycled cell phones and other small electronics, were unveiled on Sunday, one year out from the Opening Ceremony.

In a first for the Paralympics, each medal has one to three indentation(s) on its side to distinguish its color by touch — one for gold, two silver and three for bronze. Braille letters also spell out “Tokyo 2020” on each medal’s face.

For Rio, different amounts of tiny steel balls were put inside the medals based on their color, so that when shaken they would make distinct sounds. Visually impaired athletes could shake the medals next to their ears to determine the color.

More on the design from Tokyo 2020:

The design is centered around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind refreshing the world as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds. The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together; here it represents Para athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan depict the vitality of people’s hearts and symbolize Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves, and water. These are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

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Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Tokyo Paralympic Medals

Alysa Liu lands quad Lutz

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Alysa Liu, a 14-year-old who in January became the youngest U.S. women’s figure skating champion, on Saturday landed a quadruple Lutz, something no other U.S. woman has done in competition.

Liu landed the jump at the Aurora Games, a women’s sports festival in Albany, N.Y. It does not count officially, since it’s not a sanctioned competition.

Previously, Sasha Cohen landed a quadruple Salchow in practice in 2001, but never in competition. At least three Russian teens landed quads in junior competition in the last two years.

Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva became the first woman to land a clean, fully rotated quad in senior competition en route to silver at last season’s world championships.

Liu, who landed three triple Axels between two programs at January’s nationals, makes her junior international debut at a Grand Prix stop in Lake Placid, N.Y., next week.

She will not meet the age minimum for senior international competitions until the 2022 Olympic season. But she can continue to compete at senior nationals.

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