Shiffrin third after first run in chase for world championship slalom history

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The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, in an attempt to become the first skier to win four-straight world championship titles in a single event, is in need of a second run like none other if she hopes to make history in Are, Sweden.

Shiffrin, battling a bad cold, cut back on her warmup routine prior to her first run in an attempt to conserve energy.

Shiffrin was the second skier on course and is currently third in the standings after her first run.

First run results are here.

“A lot of my run felt pretty good. Breathing is a little difficult, so that’s the only tricky thing,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports after her first run. “You gotta breathe to keep your energy through the entire run, so I was sort of managing that a little bit.

“To be honest, nobody races in perfect conditions, so I think I gotta toughen up a little bit.”

Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener had the best time in run #1, followed by Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson. Holdener, Swenn-Larsson and Shiffrin are all bunched up at the top, with just over a tenth of a second separating Shiffrin from Holdener.

One likely issue facing Shiffrin and her competitors in run two will be skiing on a rutted track of soft snow. Race organizers have made every attempt to harden the surface, but their attempts may be in vain. 

“The second run is gonna be bumpy, and it’s gonna be a fight,” Shiffrin said.

Shiffrin has been dominant in slalom on the World Cup this season, winning six out of the seven slalom races held. Shiffrin’s biggest rival in slalom this season and winner of this week’s world championship giant slalom, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, also found herself behind the lead with the fifth-best time after her first run.

Catch the encore presentation of the first run of women’s slalom on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET and watch Mikaela Shiffrin chase history live in the second and deciding run of women’s slalom on NBCSN on TV and streaming beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Helen Maroulis to miss world championships, eyes still on defending Olympic title

Helen Maroulis
United World Wrestling
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Helen Maroulis, the lone U.S. female wrestler to win an Olympic title, sat out this past weekend’s world team trials, which means she will not compete at the world championships in September.

Maroulis is working her way back from blowing out her right shoulder in a first-round loss at worlds on Oct. 24, after she returned from a concussion. She underwent surgery in November and was cleared to return earlier this spring before tweaking the shoulder again.

Maroulis said Friday she was cleared again to compete at trials but chose rest, recovery and her long-term health given what happened in 2018.

“It’s not coming from a place of fear,” she said. “I’m just not ready yet.

“If trials were end of June, everything would be perfect. I’m still feeling good and confident for 2020.”

As Maroulis stressed at 2018 Worlds, she prioritizes health over wrestling.

“Not just for myself, but to set an example because I get a lot of messages from kids on Instagram — I have a concussion, or my teammate has a concussion.” Maroulis said in October. “There’s this wrestler mindset to just push through — you’re the toughest, find a way to win. But there’s just a lot more to it.”

Maroulis, 27, put together one of the most dominant stretches in sport from 2015-17, going 78-1 overall among three different weight classes and going unscored upon at two world championships.

In between, she beat Saori Yoshida in the Rio Olympic 53kg final, preventing the Japanese legend from a record fourth Olympic title.

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Ex-partner of deceased figure skater John Coughlin says she was abused

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — One of the former skating partners of two-time U.S. pairs champion John Coughlin has accused him in a series of social media posts of sexually assaulting her over a 2-year period.

Bridget Namiotka said on Facebook that Coughlin, who died by suicide in January, hurt “at least 10 people including me.” She skated with Coughlin from 2004, when she was 14, through the 2007 season.

Namiotka’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that the comments were made by her.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and U.S. Figure Skating had given Coughlin, who became a coach and TV commentator after his retirement, an interim suspension for unspecified conduct. He was barred from attending events and activities sanctioned by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Coughlin was found dead Jan. 18 at his father’s home in Kansas City, Missouri.