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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Sky Brown, 11-year-old Olympic skateboard hopeful, suffers serious injuries in fall

Sky Brown Skateboard Fall
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Sky Brown, an 11-year-old British Olympic skateboarding hopeful, recently suffered her worst fall, requiring surgery, she said in a video posted from a hospital bed.

Brown suffered skull fractures and broke her left wrist and hand and was at first unresponsive upon arrival to a hospital, according to the BBC, which quoted her father.

Video of the fall from a skateboarding ramp was posted on her social media. She appeared to be wearing a helmet in the video.

“I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them because I want people to see the fun in what I do,” Brown said. “But this was my worst fall, and I just want everyone to know that, it’s OK, don’t worry. I’m OK. It’s OK to fall sometimes. I’m just going to get back up and push even harder. I know there’s a lot of things going on in the world right now. I want everyone to know that whatever we do, we’ve just go to do it with love and happiness.”

Brown is the 2019 World bronze medalist in the new Olympic sport’s park discipline.

Later Tuesday, Brown reposted an Instagram post from what appeared to be her father’s account. The caption of that post said Brown fell 15 feet to flat concrete.

“I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital,” the caption read. “We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive.

“4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks.”

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Last week the worst thing I could ever ever imagined happened to @skybrown . She fell about 15ft off the side of a vert ramp to flat concrete. I held her in my arms and she bled helplessly moaning in and out of consciousness waiting for the helicopter to take her to the Hospital. We spent the night sick and terrified not knowing if Sky was going to make it through the night, as the ICU team tried to get her conscious and kept her alive. We prayed and begged God to give Sky another chance. Word came back while she was still unconscious, multiple fractures to her skull, a broken left arm, which she broke into pieces because she used it to break her fall, broken right fingers and lacerations to her heart and lungs. 4 days later Sky sits across from me with her full memory back, smiling, watching TikTok while Eating her favorite bad snacks. More importantly her Doctors and the trauma team say it’s a miracle how well she is dealing with the pain and recovering incredibly fast. They said it’s shocking and believe it’s because of her grit, positivity and attitude. Skys brother @oceanbrown has been so brave. He saw his sister fall to the ground lying in a pool of blood and was screaming in tears that night outside of the hospital. He has still not allowed into the hospital to see her. They miss each-other dearly, but no siblings are allowed to enter the hospital because of coronavirus. They’ve been spending hours a day on FaceTime with each other making funny faces to one another in fits of giggles and laughter. Sky promises Ocean daily that she will make a fast recovery so they can be together again. Sky is constantly joking and smiling and it’s hurts my heart to even imagine for a second a world without Sky; extremely thankful that I don’t have to. Thank you to the heroes that are the doctors, nurses and hospital staff that have tirelessly worked on her and helped her get to this point.

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Ted Ligety confirms he’ll ‘finish it off’ at 2022 Olympics

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Ted Ligety, a two-time U.S. Olympic Alpine skiing champion, plans to race through the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, looking to break Bode Miller‘s record as the oldest U.S. Olympic Alpine skier in history.

Ligety detailed the plans for the rest of his career in interviews with NBC Sports and SkiRacing.com this spring.

“Two final years and finish it off at the Olympics,” Ligety told Mike Tirico on Lunch Talk Live.

Previously, the 35-year-old had not announced whether he would make a push for a fifth Winter Games. But since he’s planning to race the 2020-21 season, it makes sense to extend it to the Olympic year.

“At this point, I guess I’m shooting for the Olympics,” Ligety said in a SkiRacing.com podcast published last week. “If I was going to go this year, I was going to go the next year. It kind of seems silly to stop the year before the Olympics. So, go through then and then definitely be done. So, 37, I’d definitely be an old guy at the Olympics. Actually, my body’s been feeling better this year than it has in probably the five years prior to this.”

Ligety, a gold medalist in the 2006 Olympic combined and 2014 Olympic giant slalom, would break Miller’s age record. Miller tied for super-G bronze in his fifth and final Olympics in 2014 at age 36. Come 2022, Ligety will be older than any U.S. Olympic male skier in any discipline since ski jumper Peder Falstad at the 1932 Lake Placid Olympics, according to Olympedia.org.

Before last season, Ligety said he would not race much longer if his best result for the year was eighth place, as it was in 2018-19. In 2019-20, he posted fifth- and seventh-place finishes while limiting his schedule to almost exclusively giant slaloms.

“I feel like I’m starting to progress again to the point where I feel like I can start winning races,” he said.

Ligety is trying to return to the top of the sport after a string of significant injuries: a hip labrum tear in 2015, a season-ending ACL tear in 2016 and season-ending surgery for three herniated disks in his back in 2017.

“If my body falls apart and all that, then I guess I’ll revisit things,” he said. “But trying hard to persevere and try to preserve the body in a way that I’m able to push hard through races and not be battling through pain.”

Also on his mind: a 2-year-old son, Jax, and twins on the way.

“Family life is about to get exponentially more hectic,” he said.

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