Mikaela Shiffrin turns speed racer at Lake Louise

AP
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Mikaela Shiffrin‘s slalom dominance consolidated, the double Olympic champion switches to speed racing, live on NBC Sports, NBC Sports Gold and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA this weekend.

Shiffrin is the headliner, expected to contest downhills on Friday and Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, Alberta. She broke through in the Canadian Rockies last December, making her first downhill podium, then winning a downhill the following day.

Lindsey Vonn normally opens her campaign in earnest at Lake Louise, where she had so much success (18 of her 82 World Cup wins in 44 starts) that the venue is often nicknamed Lake Lindsey. But a training crash last week forced Vonn to delay her farewell season debut to, at the earliest, Dec. 8.

Shiffrin added downhills and super-Gs to her repertoire in the last Olympic cycle. While her Olympic and world medals are all in slalom, giant slalom and the super combined, she harbors a goal of winning a race in every discipline in the same season.

She already has two slalom wins in as many starts this fall, opening an early lead in the World Cup overall standings as she bids for at three-peat as the world’s best all-around skier. Shiffrin, 23 years old with 45 World Cup wins, can tie retired Austrian Renate Götschl for fourth on the World Cup list with one victory this weekend.

Her primary rivals in Lake Louise may be Slovenian Ilka Stuhec, the 2017 World downhill champion who missed last season with a torn ACL, and Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami, the 2016 World Cup overall champion. PyeongChang downhill gold medalist Sofia Goggia of Italy is out after breaking an ankle in October.

NBC Sports will also air live coverage of the men’s World Cup stop in Beaver Creek, Colo., on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety won five World Cup giant slaloms at the venue, plus one of his three world titles in the GS. Ligety, riddled by injuries in the last Olympic cycle, eyes his first victory anywhere since October 2015.

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