Shiffrin, Pinturault get wins for World Cup record book

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SOLDEU, Andorra — Citius, altius, 40th.

Embodying the Olympic motto in a World Cup slalom Saturday, Mikaela Shiffrin went faster in her second slalom run and higher in the World Cup all-time lists by being stronger than Wendy Holdener to win an intense duel.

Shiffrin’s 40th career victory in World Cup slaloms tied her with Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s record for wins in the discipline.

On a record-setting day in sun-bathed Andorra, Alexis Pinturault earlier won the final men’s giant slalom of the season.

Pinturault became the most prolific French skier in World Cup history with his 23rd career victory.

Shiffrin had trailing 0.28 seconds behind first-run leader Holdener and won by just 0.07 after both racers visibly pushed their limits slicing through the gates.

Holdener’s unlucky defeat extended her own unwanted World Cup record with a 22nd career podium finish in slalom without a victory.

That’s the most top-three placings in a single discipline without winning for any man or woman in the 52-year World Cup history.

Shiffrin, the 2014 Sochi Winter Games gold medalist, earned 100 race points to lift her season-long total in the slalom standings to a remarkable 1,160 — more than every woman skier’s total over all disciplines, except for overall standings runner-up Petra Vlhova.

Shiffrin’s mammoth 2,104 points — the second-highest total ever in the World Cup — is more than 800 ahead of Vlhova. Holdener is third.

Vlhova placed third Saturday but trailed more than a second behind the standout leading pair.

Frida Hansdotter, the 2018 Olympic slalom champion competing in her final World Cup race, placed fifth, 1.89 behind Shiffrin.

Pinturault retained his first-run lead to finish 0.44 seconds ahead of Swiss prospect Marco Odermatt, who earned a career-best result.

Zan Kranjec was third, trailing 1.03 behind Pinturault, who broke a tie with Carole Merle for the all-time record by a French racer. Merle got her 22 wins in giant slalom and super-G from 1988-93. Alpine great Jean-Claude Killy won 18 times.

Marcel Hirscher placed sixth, 1.74 back, having already clinched his fifth straight title in the season-long giant slalom standings.

“It’s really cool to have this globe,” Hirscher said, holding the crystal trophy he also won in 2012. “It’s surreal to have it for six years now.”

The Austrian star has also secured a record eighth straight overall World Cup title, though had his lead cut to 415 points by Pinturault ahead of the season-ending slalom on Sunday.

The World Cup finals meeting ends Sunday with overall champions Shiffrin and Hirscher favored for victory in, respectively, a giant slalom and slalom.

Larry Nassar judge, Olympians back USOC oversight push in Congress

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DENVER (AP) — The judge who sentenced former sports doctor Larry Nassar to prison and a group of Olympians are backing an effort to create a commission to look into the operations of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Michigan Judge Rosemarie Aquilina joined the athletes and Colorado’s U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette in Denver on Monday to announce the planned introduction of the bipartisan bill Tuesday in the House. It mirrors one introduced in January by Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in the Senate, a standard practice in Congress. It would set up a panel of 16 people, half of them Olympians or Paralympians, with subpoena power.

Aquilina urged people to ask their congressional representatives to support the legislation and add their names as co-sponsors. Aquilina said she became involved because this wasn’t a partisan issue, but a “human thing. This is justice for everybody. Isn’t that what judges are supposed to be — about equal justice?”

“It’s troubling for me to hear that money and medals are valued more than the safety of athletes. We have to flip that script,” added Aquilina, who sentenced Nassar to what equates to life in prison. “How is it that the Olympics do not protect their athletes? That’s their company. That’s their bread and butter.”

The latest legislation to establish the commission comes six months after a congressional report in the wake of the Nassar sex-abuse case that recommended a review of the law that governs the USOC and how the USOC can use its authority to more actively protect athletes.

USOC spokesman Mark Jones said in a statement they will “continue to work constructively with both the House and the Senate to create healthy and safe environments for the American athletes we serve.”

Among the panel’s duties would be to evaluate how responsive the national governing bodies of each Olympic sports are to the athletes, and whether the U.S. Center for SafeSport has proper funding to effectively respond to any future reports of harassment and sexual assault. In addition, the panel would review the diversity of the USOC’s board members, its finances and whether it’s achieving its stated goals.

Gardner said he’s talked to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about serving on the panel. “That’s likely the kind of caliber that we need,” Gardner said.

Olympic champions Nancy Hogshead-Makar, BJ Bedford and Norm Bellingham, along with Paralympic gold medalist Sarah Will were among those in attendance.

“No amount of gold medals are worth putting the health and safety of our athletes at risk,” DeGette said. “When the very body that Congress created to care for our athletes becomes more concerned about winning and protecting a brand than the athletes themselves — it’s time for change.”

Rob Koehler said he believes this will be a big step forward for athletes. He’s the director general of a group called Global Athlete, which is designed to help athletes gain a more represented voice.

“It’s time to make sure there is independent oversight, that the government takes a brave leadership role, not only for the United States but as an example for other countries, that it’s no longer acceptable for sport to self-govern itself,” Koehler said. “It’s all about the athletes. We lose focus of that. This movement is about celebrating athletes’ victories, and the growth potential is there.”

MORE: ‘This is not Burger King’: Nassar request denied by Aquilina

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Luca Urlando breaks Michael Phelps butterfly record

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Luca Urlando, the grandson of an Italian Olympic hammer thrower, appears to be the U.S. successor to Michael Phelps in the 200m butterfly.

Urlando, 17, broke Phelps’ national 17-18 age group record in Phelps’ trademark event on Friday night, clocking 1:53.84 at a Tyr Pro Series meet in Clovis, Calif. Phelps’ mark (1:53.93) was set in 2003, when it doubled as the world record. Urlando previously broke high school age group records held by Phelps and Caeleb Dressel in 25-yard pools.

Urlando is now the third-fastest American in history in the 200m butterfly behind Phelps and Tyler Clary. He also ranks third in the world this year behind Hungarians Kristof Milak and Tamas Kenderesi.

But Urlando will not be at July’s world championships as that team was decided in 2018.

Last summer, Urlando was the highest-ranking U.S. swimmer not to make the Pan Pacific Championships team, though it was initially announced that he did make it.

Had Urlando made Pan Pacs and then swum .17 faster there than he did at nationals, he would have made the team for July’s world championships. Urlando went to Junior Pan Pacs instead last summer and did not swim faster than at nationals.

Should Urlando make the Tokyo Games, he is in line to be the youngest U.S. Olympic male swimmer since 2000, when a 15-year-old Phelps made his Olympic debut.

His grandfather, Giampaolo Urlando, threw the hammer for Italy at the 1976, 1980 and 1984 Olympics with a best finish of seventh. He originally was fourth at Los Angeles 1984 before being disqualified for testosterone.

Luca’s father, Alessandro Urlando, holds the University of Georgia school record in the discus. Luca, a rising Sacramento high school senior, is committed to Georgia.

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