Mikaela Shiffrin wins Killington slalom in rout, ties Austrian legend

1 Comment

Mikaela Shiffrin says that her biggest fan has been on her mind for every one of her ski races. When Shiffrin would get nervous, she would think of her grandmother, Pauline Condron, and remember how excited Nana was just to watch the show.

Sunday’s slalom in Killington, Vt., was no different.

Shiffrin won on American soil for the first time since Nana passed away on Oct. 22 at age 98. It came at the same venue where Nana watched Shiffrin race a World Cup in person for the first time three years ago (also a win).

“I normally am pretty good at compartmentalizing feelings and emotions,” Shiffrin said after winning the Killington slalom for the fourth straight year since it was added to the World Cup. “I didn’t want to feel like I was racing for her, but in a way I’m always racing for her because she was such a big supporter … and my biggest inspiration.”

Shiffrin’s voice cracked with emotion.

“There’s some feelings there that I’ve kind of put in a box, away, so I can focus on the racing,” she said. “At some point, I’m probably going to have to face that.”

Shiffrin raced like only she can — prevailing by 2.29 seconds over Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swede Anna Swenn Larsson was third. Full results are here.

Shiffrin won by the largest margin for a women’s slalom in more than three years. She holds the record margin of 3.07 seconds from 2015.

With every Shiffrin victory comes more career milestones, even though she’s still just 24 years old.

On Sunday, she tied Austrian Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll for fourth on the career World Cup wins list, and second among women. Only Marcel Hirscher (67), Lindsey Vonn (82) and Ingemar Stenmark (86) are ahead of her.

“The records keep going, don’t they?” Shiffrin said, laughing, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “It’s different from what Ingemar was able to do, or what Annemarie was able to do — to me, with these amazing racers, their records will last forever. It’s a different generation, with different events. But the records are also a symbol of the work that I do and the work that my team does.”

That team shifted this season.

Shiffrin’s mom and longtime primary coach, Eileen, stepped back from the latter role, in part to care for Nana. Shiffrin raced and won for the first time without her mom on site at a slalom in Levi, Finland, last week, according to The New York Times.

“She’s still playing the role of coach, she’s just doing it a little bit more from afar now,” Shiffrin, whose mom watched from the finish area in Killington on Sunday, said on NBC. “Like, we’ve been texting every single race. She’s watching and giving me pointers and little things, so we still discuss it a lot, which I love, because she’s like sort of my most trusted adviser for the longest time but she’s also been my best friend, so having her not be traveling as much this year is a little bit like splitting my heart in half.”

Shiffrin has been first or second in 21 of the last 22 World Cup slaloms, including each of the last 13 since the PyeongChang Olympics.

This season, she made the podiums of the first four races, building off her greatest campaign ever in 2018-19, when she won a record 17 World Cup races.

The World Cup continues next weekend with Shiffrin headlining the first downhills and super-G of the season in Lake Louise, Alberta. The men head to the lone U.S. stop on their tour in Beaver Creek, Colo., featuring two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

2022 Pan Pacific Championships canceled as swimming calendar shifts

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, a quadrennial major international meet, will not be held in 2022 “out of respect for the recent changes to the international sporting calendar,” according to a press release.

The Pan Pacs’ charter nations — the U.S., Australia, Canada and Japan — agreed to the move. The 2026 event will be held in Canada, which was supposed to be the 2022 host.

The decision came after the 2021 World Championships were moved to May 2022, following the Tokyo Olympics moving from 2020 to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial multi-sport Commonwealth Games — which includes Australia and Canada, but not the U.S. or Japan — are scheduled for July 27-Aug. 7, 2022.

“Organizing a third major championships in that window presented several challenges,” according to the Pan Pacs release.

Pan Pacs mark the third-biggest major international meet for U.S. swimmers, held in non-Olympic, non-world championships years.

MORE: Caeleb Dressel co-hosts a podcast. It’s not about swimming.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Boston Marathon canceled for first time after 123 years; virtual event planned

Boston Marathon
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Boston Marathon, held every year since 1897, has been canceled as an in-person event for the first time. It will be held as a virtual race instead due to the coronavirus.

“While we cannot bring the world to Boston in September, we plan to bring Boston to the world for an historic 124th Boston Marathon,” Boston Athletic Association (BAA) CEO Tom Grilk said in a press release.

The world’s oldest annual marathon had been postponed from April 20 to Sept. 14, it was announced March 13.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he first considered canceling the postponed marathon during a coronavirus surge in April.

“We were maxed out in our hospital emergency rooms,” Walsh said Thursday. “I realized that the downside of the curve, which we were on, the backside of the curve, is going to be going for some time. The concern of a second surge made me have some real reservations about can we have the marathon or not.”

Walsh said experts said a potential second surge would be between August and October. He held out hope to hold the race until talking with the BAA last week.

All participants originally registered for Boston will be offered a full refund of their entry fee and have the opportunity to participate in the virtual alternative, which can be run between Sept. 7-14.

More details, including entry information, will be announced in the coming weeks.

It’s the biggest alteration to the Boston Marathon, which was inspired by the marathon’s debut at the first modern Olympics in 1896. Previously, the biggest change came in 1918, the last year of World War I. The marathon was still held on Patriots’ Day in April but as a 10-man military relay race.

The original 2020 Boston elite fields included two-time U.S. Olympian Des Linden, the 2018 Boston winner who was fourth at the Feb. 29 Olympic Trials, where the top three earned Olympic spots.

London is the world’s other major spring marathon. It was rescheduled from April 27 to Oct. 4. Its original fields for April were headlined by the two fastest men in history — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. It’s unknown if they will remain in the field, should London happen.

The fall major marathon schedule

Boston — Sept. 7-14 (virtual event)
Berlin — TBD (will not be held as planned on Sept. 27)
London — Oct. 4
Chicago — Oct. 11
New York City — Nov. 1

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials results