Mikaela Shiffrin joins exclusive club with first super-G win

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One of Mikaela Shiffrin‘s goals this season was to become the seventh woman to notch World Cup wins in every discipline. She accomplished that in her first opportunity.

The two-time World Cup overall champion grabbed her first super-G victory on Sunday, prevailing by .77 of a second in Lake Louise, Alberta. Shiffrin said she had not done full-length super-G training since September.

“If anything, I expected that it wouldn’t be a great race,” she said. “I never felt a super-G run like that.”

Shiffrin, whose Olympic titles are in slalom and giant slalom, now has 46 World Cup wins, matching retired Austrian Renate Götschl for fourth on the women’s list. The breakdown per discipline:

Slalom — 37 (three in parallel slalom)
Giant Slalom — 6
Downhill — 1
Super-G — 1
Combined — 1

MORE: Full Results | Alpine TV Schedule

The six others with wins in five disciplines, all since 1982, when the super-G was introduced: Lindsey Vonn, Tina Maze, Janica Kostelic, Anja Pärson, Pernilla Wiberg and Petra Kronberger. With the combined in danger of being dropped from the program, Shiffrin could be the last addition to this club.

“It was one of my big goals to win in every discipline when I first started racing … one of those goals that you don’t think you’re ever going to achieve,” Shiffrin said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard.

Norwegian Raghnild Mowinckel, who earned two surprise silvers in PyeongChang, also took second on Sunday. German Viktoria Rebensburg rounded out the podium.

Nobody has been more successful at Lake Louise than Vonn, but she is likely out until January after injuring her knee in a Nov. 19 training crash.

While most of Vonn’s wins are in speed events, Shiffrin slowly expanded her repertoire in the last few years, taking care to maintain her strength in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. Exactly one year ago at Lake Louise, Shiffrin notched her first World Cup downhill victory in just her fourth start in the discipline. Sunday marked Shiffrin’s eighth start in super-G.

Shiffrin also placed fourth and ninth in Lake Louise downhills on Friday and Saturday, despite skiing just one or two days of downhill training in the six months coming into the week.

The World Cup moves to St. Moritz, Switzerland, next weekend for a super-G and a parallel slalom.

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April Ross, Alix Klineman back atop Olympic beach volleyball qualifying

April Ross, Alix Klineman
FIVB World Tour
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Two-time Olympic medalist April Ross and new partner Alix Klineman moved back on top of the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball qualifying standings by winning an event in Itapema, Brazil this week.

Ross, who split from Kerri Walsh Jennings in 2017, and Klineman beat Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes 25-23, 18-21, 15-10 in Sunday’s final for their third title in 11 FIVB World Tour tournaments together.

“Every victory is important, but this counts for more,” Klineman said, according to the FIVB. “We want to send a message and we want to be consistently the best.

Ross and Klineman supplanted Walsh Jennings and her new partner, Brooke Sweat, for the lead in the early U.S. Olympic qualifying rankings with still more than a year of events ahead.

1. Ross/Klineman – 3,240 (5 events played)
2. Walsh Jennings/Sweat – 3,100 (7 events)
3. Day/Flint – 2,180 (5 events)
4. Hughes/Ross — 2,000 (4 events)
5. Larsen/Stockman — 1,840 (5 events)
6. Sponcil/Claes — 1,600 (3 events)

Each team’s 12 best results from Sept. 1, 2018, to June 14, 2020, go into the Olympic qualifying rankings. That means Ross and Klineman are comfortably in front, having played two fewer events than Walsh Jennings and Sweat, who lost in the quarterfinals in Itapema.

The top two U.S. pairs come June 15, 2020, provided they’re ranked high enough internationally, will qualify for Tokyo. Most of the qualifying events, including the ones with the most points available, are still to come this summer.

Ross, 36, picked up Klineman, 29, after Walsh Jennings didn’t join her in signing a domestic AVP contract in 2017. The 6-foot-5 Klineman primarily played indoor the previous decade, including at Stanford from 2007-10 after being the Gatorade National Player of the Year coming out of high school.

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Katie Ledecky extends 5-year win streak

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Katie Ledecky extended a five-year domestic win streak by taking the 200m freestyle at the Tyr Pro Swim Series at Bloomington on Saturday.

In her last full meet before July’s world championships, Ledecky clocked 1:55.80 to beat training partner Simone Manuel by 1.44 seconds for her second win in as many days. Ledecky is also entered in Sunday’s 800m free on the last day of the meet.

Ledecky, who also cruised to a 400m free victory on Friday, ranks third in the world in the 200m free this year, behind Australian Ariarne Titmus and Swede Sarah Sjöström (the Olympic silver medalist who is not expected to race the 200m free at worlds).

Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion, hasn’t lost a 200m, 400m, 800m or 1500m free final at a domestic meet since Allison Schmitt beat her in a 200m free on Jan. 18, 2014 when Ledecky was 16 years old.

BLOOMINGTON: Full Results

But Ledecky lost the two biggest 200m frees of this Olympic cycle so far, at the 2017 World Championships and the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. Italian veteran Federica Pellegrini handed Ledecky her first individual final defeat at a major international meet at 2017 Worlds.

Ledecky dropped to third in the 200m free at Pan Pacs in Tokyo last year, beaten by younger swimmers Taylor Ruck of Canada and Rikako Ikee of Japan.

Ruck, who like Ledecky trains at Stanford, is in Bloomington, but she chose not to swim the 200m free on Saturday. She instead swam the 200m backstroke about 45 minutes after the 200m free and was upset by 17-year-old Regan Smith. Smith won in 2:06.47, moving to No. 3 in the world this year.

In other events Saturday, Ella Eastin captured the 400m individual medley in 4:37.18, taking 1.25 seconds off her personal best and moving to fifth in the world this year. Eastin is not on the world championships team after an untimely bout with mono before qualifying meets last summer.

Blake Pieroni won the men’s 200m free in 1:47.25. No American ranks in the top 20 in the world this year. World silver medalist Townley Haas did not enter Bloomington.

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