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Mikaela Shiffrin wins again as history, records come into view (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin won her seventh race in 14 starts this season on Wednesday. She will chase history at the PyeongChang Olympics, but single-season records are already coming into view on the World Cup.

Shiffrin captured the Snow Queen crown (which she broke, again) in Zagreb by a huge margin — 1.59 seconds — combining times from two runs.

Swiss Wendy Holdener was second, followed by Swede Frida Hansdotter.

Full results are here.

In her last 27 World Cup slaloms, Shiffrin owns 22 wins, two runners-up, a pair of third-place finishes and one DNF. The DNF came in Zagreb last year.

She made the podium in the last six World Cup races overall. The last woman to do that was Tina Maze in 2012-13, arguably the greatest season in Alpine history.

Which leads one to look ahead for Shiffrin.

If the Coloradoan stays on this pace in her best events of giant slalom and slalom, she will become the third skier to reach 2,000 World Cup points in a single season come the World Cup Finals in March.

Hermann Maier scored 2,000 in 40 races in 1999-2000. Tina Maze crushed that record with 2,414 in 35 races in the 2012-13 season. There are 38 scheduled women’s races this season.

Skiers receive 100 points for a win, 80 points for second place and 60 points for third place in a descending scale down to one point for 30th place.

This system was implemented for the 1991-92 season. Frenchman Jean-Claude Killy‘s historic 1966-67 season (won 12 of the 17 races) is out of the record picture because of the points table change and a busier race schedule.

Shiffrin will break Maze’s record if she stays on her current pace in slalom and giant slalom and adds another 398 points from the 11 remaining races in downhill, super-G and super combined.

“I don’t know if I will ever be able to do that. It’s not really one of my goals,” Shiffrin said, according to The Associated Press. “I also have so much respect for the season that Tina Maze had with so many points, it was incredible. There is a part of me that hopes that nobody ever beats that because she should really be remembered as one of the best ski racers of all time.”

Shiffrin is expected to skip several of the remaining speed races. She picks and chooses downhills and super-Gs at places where she feels comfortable with the speed and risk. She may pass on the Olympic downhill.

The focus is on the Winter Games, where Shiffrin is expected to become the first repeat Olympic slalom champion. She’s also a medal favorite in giant slalom and super combined.

Shiffrin, 22, is now at 38 career World Cup wins. Lindsey Vonn, the record-holder with 78 victories, had seven wins at the same age.

Shiffrin passed childhood idol Marlies Schild of Austria for solo sixth place on the women’s all-time list Wednesday.

The women’s Alpine World Cup continues with a giant slalom and slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Saturday and Sunday with coverage on NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. The events were moved from Maribor.

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Beatrice Chepkoech crushes steeplechase world record (video)

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Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech crushed the 3000m steeplechase world record by eight seconds at a Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday.

Chepkoech clocked 8:44.32, easily beating Olympic champion Ruth Jebet‘s mark of 8:52.78. Coincidentally, the IAAF confirmed Friday that Bahrain’s Jebet, who was born in Kenya, has been suspended the last five months after testing positive for EPO.

Between Jebet and Chepkoech, the steeple world record has come down 14 seconds since the Rio Games. Chepkoech began competition running in 2011 and didn’t concentrate on the steeplechase until 2016.

“I was thinking maybe I can break 8:50, but not at all was I dreaming about 8:44,” Chepkoech said, according to meet organizers.

Chepkoech, 27, was best-known for missing the first water jump in the 2017 World Championships final, retracing her steps and recovering to finish fourth. That helped lead the way to the stunning U.S. one-two finish with Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs.

In Friday’s race, Frerichs broke Coburn’s American record by clocking 9:00.85 for second place.

Full Monaco results are here. The Diamond League moves to London for a two-day meet Saturday and Sunday (broadcast/stream info here).

In other Monaco events, Caster Semenya clocked her second-fastest 800m of all time to extend her near-three-year win streak. The Olympic and world champion clocked 1:54.60. Semenya’s personal best is still .97 shy of the world record.

“Today wanted to break 1:54 but maybe next time,” Semenya said. “I was not thinking about the world record today and actually it is not on my mind.”

A pursuit of the 35-year-old mark will be impacted severely if an IAAF rule limiting testosterone in female middle-distance runners goes into effect next season as scheduled. Semenya is challenging it to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Noah Lyles won the 200m in 19.65 seconds, the world’s fastest time since Usain Bolt‘s last world title in 2015. Lyles, the U.S. 100m champion, remained undefeated in outdoor 200m races since finishing fourth at the Olympic Trials as an 18-year-old.

Lyles did a somersault when introduced before the race and a standing back flip celebrating afterward.

Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo won the 400m in the world’s fastest time in nine years — 49.97 seconds — edging world silver medalist Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain. Naser, 20, ran 49.08, destroying her Asian record of 49.55, but lost for the first time in nearly one year.

Botswana’s Nijel Amos ran the world’s fastest 800m since the epic 2012 Olympic final, clocking 1:42.14 against a field that did not include injured world-record holder David Rudisha.

Marie-Josée Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast won a deep 100m in 10.89 seconds, confirming she is currently the world’s fastest woman. Ta Lou also has the fastest time in the world this year of 10.85 and hasn’t lost over 100m in 2018. The race lacked world champion Tori Bowie, while Olympic champion Elaine Thompson was third in 11.02.

Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot took the 1500m in the fastest time in the world since the 2015 Monaco meet — 3:28.41. Cheruiyot, who came to Monaco with the world’s top three times this year, edged world champion Elijah Manangoi (3:29.64).

Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 17, was fourth in 3:31.18, taking 2.54 seconds off the U18 world record and nearly six seconds off his personal best, according to the IAAF. U.S. Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz was seventh in 3:31.77, his fastest time since Monaco 2015.

World silver medalist Soufiane El Bakkali became the first steeplechaser to break eight minutes in three years. The Moroccan won in 7:58.15, while U.S. Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager was second in 8:01.02.

Two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor beat Cuban-born Portuguese rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo in the triple jump, leaping 17.86 meters.

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Suspect confesses to Denis Ten killing

AP
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MOSCOW (AP) — One of two men detained in Kazakhstan on suspicion of killing Olympic figure skating medalist Denis Ten has confessed, authorities said Friday.

Prosecutor Berik Zhuyrektayev said in a televised statement that Nuraly Kiyasov “confessed his guilt in the presence of an attorney” while being questioned over the 25-year-old skater’s death Thursday in the Kazakh city of Almaty.

The prosecutor didn’t give further details of what exactly Kiyasov had said.

Police have also detained 23-year-old Arman Kudaibergenov in connection with Ten’s death, which has prompted national mourning. Authorities released a picture of the disheveled-looking man being held by masked men wearing body armor and camouflage uniforms.

Ten was stabbed after a dispute with people who allegedly tried to steal a mirror from his car in his home city of Almaty. He died in hospital of massive blood loss from multiple wounds, the Kazinform news agency said.

Prosecutors are treating his death as murder.

Kazinform reported that Kiyasov was taken to the scene of the crime under heavy security Friday as part of the investigation.

Ten’s bronze in Sochi in 2014 made him Kazakhstan’s first Olympic medalist in figure skating. He also won the Four Continents Championships in 2015 and was a world silver medalist in 2013.

He struggled with injuries in recent years and could only finish 27th at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Ten had been working on a script in recent months which the Kazakh-Russian director Timur Bekmambetov said Friday would now be turned into a movie.

“We’re definitely going to try to realize his idea and shoot a film dedicated to this multi-talented person,” Bekmambetov said in comments released by Kazakhstan’s embassy to Russia. “In his 25 years, Ten managed to do very much and had grand plans which he would surely have put into practice because he was a real hard worker.”

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