Mikaela Shiffrin wins Killington slalom in rout, ties Austrian legend

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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.

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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