Petra Vlhova wins fifth straight slalom; Mikaela Shiffrin just off podium


Petra Vlhova won her fifth straight World Cup slalom on Sunday, while Mikaela Shiffrin finished fifth to complete her weekend return to ski racing for the first time in 300 days.

Vlhova, the world giant slalom champion from Slovakia, notched her second slalom victory in as many days in Levi, Finland.

She prevailed by .31 of a second, combining times from two runs. Swiss Michelle Gisin was second, followed by Austrian Katharina Liensberger and Swiss Wendy Holdener.

Full results are here.

Shiffrin, a day after a runner-up in her first race since her father’s death on Feb. 2, had the fourth-fastest opening run and the ninth-fastest second run to finish fifth overall, .93 behind Vlhova.

“A bit tired,” said Shiffrin, who arrived in Europe last Monday and raced on two weeks of training following a back injury. “Two really solid races and just [an] incredible weekend.

“I feel like the competitive edge is maybe coming back, too, so that’s also exciting, but it’s good to be in a ski race again.”

Shiffrin’s personal-record streak ends of 17 straight World Cup slalom podiums — dating to March 2018.

Shiffrin and Vlhova combined to win the last 28 World Cup slaloms dating to January 2017 — 19 for Shiffrin and nine for Vlhova.

Vlhova’s current win streak has coincided with the first time Shiffrin has gone four straight World Cup slalom starts without a victory since 2012, before she grabbed her first of 66 World Cup wins at age 17.

The World Cup moves to Austria for women’s and men’s parallel races on Thursday and Friday.

Shiffrin’s coach, Mike Day, said last week that it was unlikely that she would compete in the parallel event as she ramps up training after a lack of time on snow in the spring, summer and early fall.

“Try to find some place to train and reset a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “Just find some training and see when the next races I can do are.”

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

Lim Hyo-Jun

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

Brigid Kosgei

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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