Mikaela Shiffrin rallies for podium as Italy goes 1-2 in Killington giant slalom

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KILLINGTON, Vt (AP) — Victory eluded Mikaela Shiffrin once again in a World Cup giant slalom at Killington, edged into third place by an Italian 1-2 led by Marta Bassino on Saturday.

Bassino sealed a first career World Cup win by retaining her first-run lead to beat Federica Brignone by 0.26 seconds. Full results are here.

“Celebrating together with Federica fills me with even more pride,” said Bassino, whose teammate was first to greet her and hug her in the finish area. Brignone won this race last year.

Shiffrin was a further 0.03 back in third for a fourth straight top-five finish in GS at the Vermont venue without taking the win.

Still, the three-time defending overall World Cup champion extended her standings lead with a third podium finish to start the season. She also leads the giant slalom standings after two races.

“I felt pretty good with my skiing in both runs so, yeah, I’m pretty happy with the day,” Shiffrin said.

Shiffrin is favored to win a fourth straight Killington slalom on Sunday. NBC Sports’ full weekend broadcast schedule of World Cup Alpine skiing is here.

Brignone dedicated her podium finish to a friend, named Edoardo, who died “just hours ago” before the race in an avalanche on Mont Blanc on the border of France and Italy.

“My thoughts are with him,” said Brignone, who put down the fastest second run to rise from seventh.

Bassino is a former junior world champion in giant slalom, who had four previous third-place finishes on the World Cup circuit. She also placed fifth at the PyeongChang Olympics, where Shiffrin won and Brignone took bronze.

“I finally put together two runs,” Bassino said. “I tried to focus just on myself and to ski like I know how. Then I saw the green light and I thought, ‘Wow.’

“I hope this can be a turning point for my career. I knew I had a result like this in me, I just needed a spark to transform what I do every day into gold.”

Bassino clocked under 50 seconds in bright sunshine for each run which was shortened due to gusting winds at the scheduled start higher up the mountain.

Alice Robinson of New Zealand, who won the season-opening giant slalom last month at Soelden, Austria, failed to finish the first run, racing the day before she turns 18.

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MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule

South Korea’s first gold medalist of 2018 PyeongChang Olympics to compete for China

Lim Hyo-Jun
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Lim Hyo-Jun, a short track speed skater who won South Korea’s first gold medal of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been cleared to skate for China and was reportedly named to the national team Monday.

Lim, who won the 1500m on the first day of medal competition at the PyeongChang Games, began the process of switching to China after a June 2019 incident where he pulled down a teammate’s trousers, leaving him standing, exposed, in front of female teammates.

Lim, the 2019 World overall champion, was banned from the team for a year and later found guilty of sexual harassment before the verdict was overturned on appeal.

It was reported in March 2021 that Lim was in the process of trying to gain Chinese nationality to compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics, but Lim was not cleared to switch by the International Skating Union until this July. His Chinese name is Lin Xiaojun.

Another star South Korean skater, triple 2006 Olympic gold medalist Ahn Hyun-Soo, switched to Russia after not making the 2010 Olympic team. He then won three golds for the host nation as Viktor Ahn at the 2014 Sochi Games.

China’s national team for the upcoming season reportedly does not include veterans Wu Dajing, the nation’s lone gold medalist across all sports at the 2018 Olympics, and Fan Kexin, a three-time Olympic medalist.

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Brigid Kosgei, world record holder, to miss London Marathon

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World record holder Brigid Kosgei withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon due to a right hamstring injury that has bothered her for the last month.

“My training has been up and down and not the way I would like to prepare to be in top condition,” was posted on Kosgei’s social media. “We’ve decided it’s best I withdraw from this year’s race and get further treatment on my injuries in order to enter 2023 stronger than ever.”

Kosgei, a 28-year-old Kenyan mother of twins, shattered the world record by 81 seconds at the 2019 Chicago Marathon. She clocked 2:14:04 to smash Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s record from 2003.

Since, Kosgei won the 2020 London Marathon, took silver at the Tokyo Olympics, placed fourth at the 2021 London Marathon and won this past March’s Tokyo Marathon in what was then the third-fastest time in history (2:16:02).

Ethiopian Tigist Assefa moved into the top three by winning the Berlin Marathon last Sunday in 2:15:37.

The London Marathon women’s field includes Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei, a winner in New York City (2019) and London (2021), and Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who was the Ethiopian record holder until Assefa won in Berlin.

The men’s field is headlined by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, the second-fastest male marathoner in history, and Brit Mo Farah, a four-time Olympic champion on the track.

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