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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MORE: Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Kendall Gretsch wins six gold medals at Para Nordic Ski Worlds

Kendall Gretsch
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Kendall Gretsch, who won Paralympic titles at the last Summer and Winter Games, added another six gold medals at the World Para Nordic Skiing Championships in Sweden last week.

Gretsch, 30, earned seven total medals in seven days between biathlon and cross-country skiing.

Gretsch won gold medals in three different sports across the last three Paralympics: biathlon and cross-country skiing in 2018 (two years after taking up the sports), triathlon in 2021 and biathlon in 2022.

She plans to shift her focus back to triathlon after this winter for 2024 Paris Games qualification.

Gretsch, born with spina bifida, was the 2014 USA Triathlon Female Para Triathlete of the Year. Though triathlon was added to the Paralympics for the 2016 Rio Games, her classification was not added until Tokyo.

Also at last week’s worlds, six-time Paralympian Aaron Pike earned his first Paralympic or world championships gold medal in his decade-plus career, winning a 12.5km biathlon event.

Oksana Masters, who won seven medals in seven events at last year’s Paralympics to break the career U.S. Winter Paralympics medals record, missed worlds due to hand surgery.

The U.S. also picked up five medals at last week’s World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in Spain — three silvers for five-time Paralympian Laurie Stephens and two bronzes for 17-year-old Saylor O’Brien.

Stephens now has 18 career medals from world championships, plus seven at the Paralympics.

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World champion skier Kyle Smaine dies in avalanche at age 31

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Kyle Smaine, a retired world champion halfpipe skier, died in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, according to NBC News, citing Smaine’s father. He was 31.

Smaine, a 2015 World champion in ski halfpipe, had been doing ski filming in Japan, sharing videos on his Instagram account over the past week.

The native of South Lake Tahoe, California, finished ninth in ski halfpipe at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado.

In 2018, Smaine won the fifth and final U.S. Olympic qualifying series event in ski halfpipe but did not make the four-man team for PyeongChang. His last sanctioned international competition was in February 2018.

Late Sunday, two-time Olympic champion David Wise won the X Games men’s ski halfpipe and dedicated it to Smaine.

“We all did this for Kyle tonight,” Wise said on the broadcast. “It’s a little bit of an emotional day for us. We lost a friend.”