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Simone Biles wins selection camp all-around, makes world champs team

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Simone Biles clinched a spot on the world championships team by winning the all-around at USA Gymnastics’ selection camp Thursday.

Biles became the first woman to make the six-gymnast U.S. team for worlds in Doha that start in two weeks. Five will compete, with one named an alternate.

The rest of the team will be named Friday, after the last day of the camp in Sarasota, Fla.

Biles tallied 59.7 points on Thursday. She has competed three times in official all-around competitions this season and posted the three highest scores in the world since Rio.

U.S. bronze medalist Riley McCusker was second (57.25), followed by Grace McCallum (55.4) and 2017 World all-around champion Morgan Hurd (55.25).

Biles had the top scores on floor exercise (15.1) and vault (16.0, sticking a vault that no woman has performed in competition history) on Thursday.

She was outscored by McCusker on uneven bars (14.95 to 14.75) and fourth on balance beam, putting her hands on the mat on the dismount (13.85).

The camp is without Jade Carey, who earned floor and vault silver medals at the 2017 Worlds but is skipping this year’s worlds to prioritize her Olympic chances.

Biles is undefeated in official all-around competitions for more than five years, including winning her two comeback meets this summer after taking more than a year off after a four-gold-medal performance in Rio.

At nationals in August, she became the first gymnast to sweep all five gold medals since Dominique Dawes in 1994. She also became the first non-teen to win the U.S. all-around title since 1971.

At worlds, she should break Russian Svetlana Khorkina‘s female record with a fourth all-around title. Only Japanese star Kohei Uchimura has more with six crowns.

The only gymnast to have a longer run of major-event dominance is 18-time Olympic medalist Larisa Latynina, who won every Olympic, world and European all-around title from 1956 through 1962, save the 1959 Euros, which she appears to have sat out following childbirth.

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MORE: Why world medalist is skipping USA Gymnastics selection camp

Hirscher leads by 0.56 seconds after first run in World Champs slalom

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Marcel Hirscher swept into the finish area and wagged his finger triumphantly in front of the camera.

The message was clear: The ski king is back.

The Austrian produced an emphatic response to relinquishing his giant slalom title two days earlier at the world championships by taking a 0.56-second lead after the first run of the slalom on Sunday.

Only Alexis Pinturault of France was within a second of Hirscher, who was on course to win a record-tying seventh career gold medal at the worlds.

Marco Schwarz of Austria was in third place, 1.22 seconds off the lead.

Hirscher, the seven-time overall World Cup champion, showed no ill-effects from the cold that has been affecting him this week. After the giant slalom on Friday, he said he would be going straight back to bed to rest up for the slalom.

He looked in good working order on Sunday.

As the third skier on the course, Hirscher took 1.70 seconds off No. 2 starter Henrik Kristoffersen, who beat Hirscher to GS gold on Friday, and more than two seconds off Clement Noel, who came to the worlds in form after wins in Wengen and Kitzbuehel.

Save for Hirscher crashing, only Pinturault looks capable to denying the Austrian a third slalom gold at the worlds — something only the great Ingemar Stenmark has achieved. Pinturault was only 0.06 seconds behind Hirscher at the third checkpoint but he went wide at the first turn on the final descent and lost half a second.

“I’m still in the fight,” Pinturault said, “and still have a chance in the second leg. That’s the essential (thing).”

Daniel Yule of Switzerland was 0.28 behind Hirscher at the last split before falling at the start to the final descent.

Hirscher also won the slalom at the 2013 and 2017 worlds. A seventh career gold at the worlds would tie the men’s record held by compatriot Toni Sailer from the late 1950s.

Austria, a storied Alpine skiing nation, needs Hirscher to deliver in the final event to avoid finishing the world championships without a gold medal for the first time since Crans Montana, Switzerland, in 1987. The women’s team has already finished with no medals and that hasn’t happened since Schladming, Austria, in 1982.

Watch an encore presentation of the first run on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET. The second and deciding run can be seen live starting at 8:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.

Mikaela Shiffrin proving she’s in league of her own

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There are ski racers, and then there is Mikaela Shiffrin.

NBC Sports essayist Tim Layden calls Shiffrin the “rarest creature,” a prodigy who continues to get better with age.

Shiffrin’s stardom took off with her heart-stopping slalom gold medal in the 2014 Olympics. It looked like she would ascend to an even higher level four years later in PyeongChang when she claimed a gold medal in the giant slalom, but then she lost a battle with her nerves and failed to win a medal in the slalom. She did capture a silver in the combined event.

That Olympic disappointment has fueled her historic World Cup season. She became the youngest skier to pass the 50 win mark. She broke the women’s career record for slalom victories, and she became the first skier ever to win four-straight world championship titles in a single event.

A true prodigy indeed.