Mikaela Shiffrin passed in World Cup GS standings after ‘heartbreaking’ result

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Mikaela Shiffrin, who opened the World Cup season with four straight podiums and two wins, could not find her usual speed Tuesday, finishing 17th in a giant slalom in Couchevel, France.

Italian Federica Brignone won and snatched the World Cup GS standings lead from Shiffrin through three of a scheduled nine races. Shiffrin, the Olympic GS champion, won the season-long World Cup GS title for the first time last season.

On Tuesday, Shiffrin was “visibly upset, speechless and a little stunned,” according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard, after her worst result since the PyeongChang Olympics and her worst for a tech race outside of DNFs in more than five years.

“I have a lot of thoughts, but I probably shouldn’t say any of them on camera,” she joked, according to a press release. “Look, it’s not really OK for me to expect something more from the day. I mean … I skied and I placed how I placed. The girls who are ahead of me skied harder, better and cleaner than me.”

Shiffrin was 19th after the first run and had the 11-fastest time in the second run. She finished 1.65 seconds behind Brignone, who edged Norwegian Mina Fuerst Holtmann by .04. Shiffrin’s coach Mike Day set the course for run No. 2.

“I don’t have any excuse, really,” Shiffrin said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “They did an amazing job preparing the surface. The slope was actually in an amazing condition. Both courses were really fun to ski, and my equipment has been really great in training and everything. There’s really no one to blame but myself. I’m for sure going to watch my video. It’s experience, and there’s always a lesson to learn. Right now it feels heartbreaking, but it’s also not the end of the world, so we just have to move on to the next one.”

In the World Cup GS standings, Brignone moved from 14 points behind Shiffrin to 71 points ahead.

The Italian is likely to go into 2020 with the lead, given there is one World Cup GS over the next month and race winners receive 100 points for a win on a sliding scale for the top 30 finishers.

Shiffrin is still comfortably ahead in the chase for her fourth straight World Cup overall title, 165 points clear of Brignone.

Shiffrin skipped Sunday’s parallel slalom in St. Moritz, Switzerland, her third time passing on a tech race (aside from injury) since she burst onto the scene as a teenager in 2012. She used the time off to rest after last Saturday’s super-G, ahead of Tuesday’s GS and this weekend’s downhill and super combined in Val d’Isere, France.

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Joey Mantia extends U.S. medal streak at speed skating worlds; Dutch dominance returns

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Joey Mantia ensured the host U.S. finished with a medal at the world single distances championships. Ireen WüstKjeld Nuis and Jorrit Bergsma ensured the Netherlands finished atop the medal standings.

Mantia joined Shani Davis as the only U.S. men to earn individual medals at three different editions of the championships, taking bronze in the 1500m on the last day of the speed skating meet at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Mantia won the mass start at the last two worlds in 2017 and 2019 (and finished fifth on Sunday, after the 1500m bronze).

Mantia clocked a personal best 1:42.16 in the fifth of 12 pairs of the 1500m. It held up until Nuis (1:41.66) and countryman Thomas Krol (1:41.73) in the last two pairs.

“Was starting to think that I’m so old that I can’t time trial anymore,” Mantia, a 34-year-old whose last 1500m personal best came in 2015, told media in Utah. “Maybe there’s a little bit of hope left.”

Mantia’s medal extended the U.S. streak of making the podium at every world championships this millennium — 16 straight. The single bronze is the smallest medal output since 2000.

Full results are here.

Wüst and Nuis gave the Dutch a sweep of the men’s and women’s 1500m titles, two years after they did the same at the PyeongChang Olympics. Bergsma, an Olympic and world 10,000m champion, earned his first global medal of any color — gold — in the 16-lap mass start.

The Netherlands failed to earn any golds on the first two days of the four-day competition. The dominant Dutch, who topped the medal standings at every Olympics and worlds dating to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, entered Sunday trailing Russia.

But Wüst began the day by clocking 1:50.92 to win the 1500m by .21 over Russian Yevgenia Lalenkova. American medal hope Brittany Bowe, the 2015 World champion who took bronze last year, finished 14th a day after taking eighth in her world-record 1000m distance.

Nuis and Krol went one-two in the men’s 1500m to tie Russia’s medal total. Then Irene Schouten took bronze in the women’s mass start to put the Netherlands ahead for good, followed by Bergsma’s capper.

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Netherlands on the board; more world records at speed skating worlds

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It took four world records from other countries before the Netherlands won its first title in an Olympic program event at the world single distances speed skating championships.

Jutta Leerdam got the dominant skating nation on the board on the third day of the four-day competition and in the ninth Olympic program event. Leerdam scored an upset over defending champion and world-record holder Brittany Bowe, the American who ended up eighth.

Leerdam, 21, prevailed despite having zero World Cup podiums to her name. She clocked 1:11.84, just .23 slower than Bowe’s world record set on the same Utah Olympic Oval last year. Bowe, who recently had her yearlong win streak snapped in the 1000m, finished in 1:12.92.

“It’s a nightmare,” Bowe said, according to media on site.

Later, the Netherlands won the men’s team pursuit in a world record 3:34.68, the fifth world record in Olympic events the last two days on the world’s fastest ice at the 2002 Olympic oval outside Salt Lake City.

Full results are here.

The world championships conclude Sunday, highlighted by American Joey Mantia defending his world title in the mass start.

In other Saturday events, both the men’s 1000m and women’s 5000m world records fell. On Friday, world records were lowered in the men’s 10,000m and women’s team pursuit.

Pavel Kulizhnikov followed his Friday world 500m title with the 1000m crown, repeating his double gold from 2016. Kulizhnikov was one of the Russians banned from the PyeongChang Olympics after he served a prior doping ban.

On Saturday, Kulizhnikov clocked 1:05.69 to take .49 off Dutchman Kjeld Nuis‘ record from last March, also set at Salt Lake City. Nuis, the Olympic 1000m and 1500m champion, took silver, 1.03 seconds behind.

Russian Natalya Voronina and Czech Martina Sablikova both went under Sablikova’s world record in the 5000m. Voronina came out on top in 6:39.02, 2.99 seconds faster than Sablikova’s record from a year ago and 2.16 seconds faster than Sablikova on Saturday.

Voronina’s time would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1993. Sablikova won the previous 10 world titles in the event dating to 2007.

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