Italy’s Dominik Paris gets downhill World Cup win

Leave a comment

Entering the day, Italy’s Dominik Paris was ranked second in downhill World Cup points, more than 100 points behind the season leader, Switzerland’s Beat Feuz.

Feuz, skiing two racers ahead of Paris in Kvitfjell, Norway today, laid down a run more than a second faster than then-current leader, Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde. Paris stepped into the gate knowing he had to be on the podium — preferably on top of it — if he wanted a chance to win his first World Cup crystal globe as the season draws to a close.

Paris fearlessly attacked the course, and crossed the finish .25 hundredths of a second ahead of Feuz and picked up his third World Cup downhill win of the season.

Full results are here.

With the win, Paris earned 100 World Cup points. However, Feuz held on to the lead in the downhill point standings, earning 80 points for his second place finish. Things could get interesting with one final downhill race remaining on the schedule for the season. Both men will need to be at their best if they hope to walk away with the crystal globe in Soldeu, Andorra on March 13.

The U.S.’ Steve Nyman had his best downhill race since December, finishing seventh on the day, while his teammate, and frequent top-10 finisher, Bryce Bennett ended up in 12th place.

On Sunday, the men are scheduled to race in the Super-G. Watch live beginning at 5:00 a.m. ET on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.   

The women’s World Cup tour was supposed to race this weekend in Sochi, Russia, but snow and wind have kept athletes off the mountain since Wednesday. It’s the first World Cup event in Sochi since the 2014 Olympics. Despite the lack of racing, the U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, not even entered in the events this weekend, had enough points banked from previous racing to mathematically win her third-consecutive overall World Cup title.

Efforts are now focused on salvaging what’s left of the weekend, with race officials hoping to have a skiable Super-G course ready for Sunday at Rosa Khutor. If successful, racing is set to begin at 2:30 a.m. ET, with live coverage on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold.   

Penny Oleksiak edges Simone Manuel, Regan Smith sizzles again in Knoxville

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Penny Oleksiak and Simone Manuel nearly duplicated their Olympic gold-medal tie. The Canadian Oleksiak edged Manuel by .03 in the 100m freestyle at a Tyr Pro Series stop in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday night.

Oleksiak clocked 53.41 seconds, coming back from .37 behind Manuel at the 50-meter mark. The two tied for the Rio Olympic title in an Olympic record 52.70 seconds four years ago. Oleksiak was the surprise, a 16-year-old who came into the Games ranked eighth in the world for the year.

Since, Manuel swept the 2017 and 2019 World titles. Oleksiak was sixth at 2017 Worlds and withdrew before the 100m free at 2019 Worlds. She ranked 21st in the world last year. Oleksiak’s time Sunday was her fastest since 2017.

Full Knoxville meet results are here. The Pro Series’ next stop is Des Moines from March 4-7.

In other events Sunday, world-record holder Regan Smith won the 200m backstroke in 2:05.94, the fastest time ever outside of a national championships or major international meet. Smith, 17, achieved the same feat on Saturday in the 100m back, where she also broke the world record at last summer’s worlds.

Madisyn Cox won a matchup of the three fastest U.S. women in the 200m individual medley in 2019. She clocked 2:09.88, beating Alex Walsh by a half-second and Melanie Margalis by .54.

It was Cox’s fastest time since she took bronze at the 2017 World Championships. She missed the 2019 Worlds after failing a 2018 drug test over what she said was a contaminated multivitamin.

MORE: Australian swim star issues plea after hometown hit by fires

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Mikaela Shiffrin among favorites eliminated early in parallel giant slalom

Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffrin was upset in the round of 16 of the first World Cup parallel giant slalom by unheralded Frenchwoman Clara Direz, who went on to earn her first win on Sunday.

Shiffrin had the fastest qualifying time but was bounced in the second round of head-to-head racing in Sestriere by Direz. Direz, 24, came into the day with a best career finish of seventh.

Direz was 16th-fastest in qualifying, 1.02 seconds behind Shiffrin combining times from two runs. Direz edged Shiffrin by .13 in their head-to-head run. Shiffrin appeared to be at a disadvantage being put on the red course, which produced just three winners among 20 one-run matchups.

“It is fun; I think I like the parallel GS actually more than the parallel slalom, but it’s a little bit difficult,” Shiffrin said. “I think there’s still a lot of work we have to do, and FIS [the International Ski Federation] has to do to really make the race as even as it can be because for sure you can see, there’s always a faster course. But today it’s like they’re not even the same course at all. Especially in the last four, five gates on the blue course, you can even see just looking up the hill that it’s straighter than the red course.

“Today I would say it’s a day where the luck [of which course you draw randomly] really plays a role.”

Direz eventually beat Austrian Elisa Moerzinger in the final. Direz was on the blue course for three of her four one-run rounds. Full results are here.

Higher-ranked racers used to be have their choice of courses in the parallel format.

“Maybe that wasn’t fair, either, but I think there must be a way to make it something that is more even, but at the same time, yeah, I don’t really have the answers on how to do that, either,” Shiffrin said. “It’s still in its infancy, this event.”

Shiffrin has a track record of success in parallel slaloms and similar city events, winning five of her last six starts. But the parallel GS proved problematic for the world’s best in slalom.

Swiss Wendy Holdener and Slovakian Petra Vlhova were also eliminated before the quarterfinals after being second- and third-fastest in qualifying. Holdener was also on the red course. Vlhova lost in the round of 32, when skiers were taking runs on both the blue and red courses.

Sestriere marked the last weekend of technical races (slaloms/giant slaloms) until mid-February. The next three weekends feature downhills and super-Gs. Shiffrin is expected to travel to Bansko, Bulgaria, for the first set on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Shiffrin among 10 dominant Winter Olympians of 2010s decade