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Single-season win record eludes Mikaela Shiffrin in Austria, finishes 5th in giant slalom

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After Mikaela Shiffrin won her single season World Cup record-tying 14th race on December 22 — also her 50th career win on tour — she was asked if records mattered to her.

“It’s not really my motivation to break records,” Shiffrin said. “My big motivation is to ski well.”

After a short break for the Christmas holiday Shiffrin continued her 2018-19 World Cup season by skiing well in Semmering, Austria, however, others skied faster.

Shiffrin led the field by a slim .02 hundredths of a second lead after her first run. Austria’s Stephanie Brunner, skiing in front of her home crowd, initially posed the most-imminent threat to Shiffrin’s record-breaking day, while the FIS point leader in GS heading into the race, Italy’s Frederica Brignone, finished her first run .18 hundredths back in sixth place.

Ultimately, it was Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova who played spoiler to Shiffrin. Vlhova jumped from fourth to first after her second run. Skiing last, Shiffrin was unable to put together a run to bump Vlhova off the top podium spot and finished .66 hundredths behind the winner. Full results are here.

Shiffrin was looking for her 15th win of 2018 in Semmering, which would have made her the winningest skier in a single year on the World Cup.

Tomorrow Shiffrin can break two records with one event. In addition to the single-season win record, Shiffrin has a chance to take the top spot for career World Cup slalom wins. Watch the second run of women’s slalom tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM ET, streaming live on NBC Sports Gold.

In men’s World Cup downhill racing, Italy’s Dominik Paris won for the third time in his career on home snow in Bormio. Full results are here.

Paris’s first downhill win at Bormio was a tie in 2012 with Austria’s Hannes Reichelt. His second came in 2017, when Paris was able to hold off two of Norway’s “Attacking Vikings,” Aksel Lund Svindal and Kjetil Jansrud, for the win.

U.S. skier Travis Ganong was back in Bormio on Friday, nearly a year after he tore a ligament in his knee on the same mountain in a brutal crash that resulted in him missing the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. A day before the race in training, Ganong’s struggles on the Italian slopes continued. Ganong went down again, this time avoiding injury, but after further discussions with his coaches, he withdrew from Friday’s race.

The World Cup event at Bormio wraps up for the men on Saturday with Super G. Watch live on the Olympic Channel at 5:30 AM ET or stream it on NBC Sports Gold.

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MORE: How to watch Mikaela Shiffrin ski for history this weekend

Watch Danell Leyva splash out of American Ninja Warrior

Danell Leyva
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Triple Olympic medalist Danell Leyva became the latest gymnast to appear on NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” splashing out of the “Leaps of Faith” in the latter portion of the course in the Los Angeles City Finals that aired Monday.

Leyva’s full run can be seen at the 44-minute mark here.

Leyva, a 27-year-old who took all-around bronze at the 2012 London Games and then retired with parallel bars and high bar silver in Rio, was cheered on by 2012 Olympic teammates Jonathan Horton and John Orozco. He previously completed the course at the Los Angeles City qualifier.

Horton has tackled ANW five times, according to the broadcast. Other gymnasts to appear on the show included Olympic all-around champions Nastia Liukin and Paul Hamm and, perhaps the show’s most famous competitor, former Towson University athlete Kacy Catanzaro.

Leyva could still make the Las Vegas finals, according to the broadcast.

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MORE: Japan’s gymnastics team for worlds lacks its superstars

Chinese 13-year-olds go 1-2 at diving worlds; U.S. medal drought ends

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Reminiscent of one of its legendary divers, Chinese 13-year-olds took gold and silver in the women’s platform at the world diving championships on Wednesday. Delaney Schnell rallied for bronze, ending a 14-year U.S. medal drought.

Chen Yuxi and Lu Wei, both born in 2005, tallied 439 and 377.8 points, respectively, in Gwangju, South Korea. China is nine for nine in gold medals with four finals left this week. Schnell, who was in fifth place and 1.2 points back of third going into the last dive, ended up with 364.2.

No U.S. woman had earned an individual world platform medal since Laura Wilkinson‘s gold in 2005. Schnell, 20, was sixth at the 2016 Olympic trials and second at the 2017 World trials before placing 27th at her world debut two years ago.

Back in 1991, Chinese 12-year-old Fu Mingxia captured the world title on the platform. A year later, Fu took platform gold in Barcelona and remains the youngest Summer Olympic champion since 1960. Fu went on to win a Chinese record four individual Olympic diving titles.

Lu and Chen represent the next generation of Chinese female divers following the post-Rio retirements of their role model, Chen Ruolin, and Wu Minxia.

China is such a diving factory that it took gold and silver without the Rio Olympic platform champion, Ren Qian, who is not on this year’s world team. Ren, then 15 in Rio, became the youngest Olympic diving gold medalist since Fu.

China, two years after its least successful diving worlds since 2005, is moving closer to sweeping every gold medal at these worlds. They last accomplished the feat in 2011.

Earlier Wednesday, Chinese Xie Siyi (reigning world champion) and Cao Yuan (reigning Olympic champion) qualified first and second into Thursday’s men’s springboard final.

David Boudia, the 2012 U.S. Olympic platform champion, was a strong fourth in his first major international meet since Rio and switching to the springboard. Rio Olympian Michael Hixon also advanced in the 12th and last spot.

NBC Olympic Researcher Alex Azzi contributed to this report from Gwangju.

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MORE: Diving Worlds TV Schedule