Alpine skiing World Cup to visit China as 2019-20 schedule released

Getty Images
0 Comments

The Alpine skiing World Cup will visit China for the first time next season, two years before the Winter Olympics head to the world’s most populous nation for the first time.

Yanqing will host a men’s downhill and super-G on Feb. 15-16, which double as 2022 Beijing Winter Games test events.

The International Ski Federation (FIS) published this week the 2019-20 World Cup season calendars for men (here) and women (here). The first races will again be giant slaloms in Soelden, Austria, the last weekend of October.

The U.S. will again hold a women’s giant slalom and slalom in Killington, Vt., on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, followed by a men’s super-G, downhill and giant slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo., from Dec. 6-8.

Mikaela Shiffrin will try to become the third woman to win four World Cup overall titles, joining legends Lindsey Vonn (four) and Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll (six). Austrian Marcel Hirscher, who has not yet committed to racing next season, could go for his record-extending ninth straight overall title.

Shiffrin, 24, and Hirscher, 30, could also continue to ascend the career wins list. Shiffrin reached 60 with 17 victories last season, her best to date. Hirscher is at 67 wins. Shiffrin should pass Moser-Pröll (62) for second on the women’s list behind Vonn (82). Hirscher trails only Vonn and Ingemar Stenmark (86) between men and women.

Those will be the main season storylines after Vonn’s retirement last season and with no world championships in 2020.

The next worlds, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in 2021, will include the championships debut of the parallel slalom, giving Shiffrin another potential medal event. The combined event, which has been on the chopping block for years, remains on the World Cup schedule next season and on the 2021 World Championships program.

FIS “decided to maintain and promote this discipline to make it more attractive,” it said of the combined. It scheduled seven combined races next season between men and women, its most since 2015-16.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: Lindsey Vonn to release memoir

In a tie, Wendy Holdener puts to rest a remarkable stat in Alpine skiing

0 Comments

Swiss Wendy Holdener ended one of the most remarkable victory droughts in sports by tying for the win with Swede Anna Swenn Larsson in a World Cup slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Sunday.

Holdener, after 15 second-place finishes and 15 third-place finishes in her career, stood on the top step of a World Cup slalom podium for the first time. She shared it with Swenn Larsson, who had six World Cup slalom podiums before Sunday and also earned her first win.

They beat Austrian Katharina Truppe by .22 of a second combining times from two runs.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Holdener, 29, previously won three World Cups in other disciplines, plus two world championships in the combined and Olympic and world titles in the team event.

“To be tied first when I came into the finish was such a relief,” Holdener said while shoulder to shoulder with Swenn Larsson. “On the end, it’s perfect, because now we can share our first win together.”

Mikaela Shiffrin had the best first-run time but lost her lead midway through the second run and finished fifth. Shiffrin, who won the first two slaloms this season last weekend, was bidding for a 50th World Cup slalom victory and a sixth win in six slaloms in Killington.

“I fought. I think some spots I got a little bit off my timing, but I was pushing, and that’s slalom,” she said before turning her attention to Holdener and Swenn Larsson. “It’s a pretty special day, actually.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves next weekend to Lake Louise, Alberta, with two downhills and a super-G.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin
Getty
0 Comments

Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to SkatingScores.com, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!