Elizabeth Beisel makes strong impression in ‘Survivor’ debut

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Olympic double-medalist Elizabeth Beisel survived a solo trip to a neighboring island in the first episode of the reality TV show “Survivor,” broadcast Wednesday night, and has emerged as a contender to win top honors in the show’s 39th season.

The site GoldDerby.com ranks Beisel as the early favorite after the debut episode.

“Olympic swimmer Elizabeth Beisel entered in a pretty good position when the other girls found out how athletically promising she’ll be for their tribe,” wrote GoldDerby’s live recappers.

SwimSwam’s Jared Anderson also thinks Beisel fared well in the early going: “Beisel does mostly what swimming fans would have expected: she’s bubbly, she’s outgoing and she makes connections.”

Beisel was picked at random to go to alone to the Island of the Idols after her tribe lost the first challenge. On the island, she received mentoring from past winners Sandra Diaz-Twine and Rob Mariano. After learning how to make fire, Beisel was given a chance to wager her newfound skill in a fire-making contest against Mariano. She accepted the challenge and lost, meaning she would have no vote in the first session of deciding who will be voted off the show.

Another Olympic swimmer Katrina Radke, who finished fifth in the 200m individual medley in the 1988 Olympics at age 17 was the first person voted out in the series’ 35th season in 2017.

Beisel qualified for her first Olympics, the 2008 Games, at age 15. After placing fourth in the 400m individual medley and fifth in the 200m backstroke in Athens, she improved two spots in each event four years later at the 2012 Olympics to take silver and bronze medals. She made her third Olympic team in 2016. She also won three world championship medals, including gold in the 400m medley in 2011.

“Survivor” isn’t Beisel’s first appearance on TV outside of sports competition. She also was on the winning USA Swimming team on “Celebrity Family Feud.”

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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