Lara Gut-Behrami edges Mikaela Shiffrin in closest giant slalom in world champs history

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Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami won the closest giant slalom in world Alpine skiing championships history, prevailing by two hundredths of a second over Mikaela Shiffrin, who now has a medal of every color in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Austrian Katharina Liensberger took bronze, .09 behind Gut-Behrami.

Shiffrin, the first-run leader and last skier to go in the second run, swung from .08 up on Gut-Behrami to .14 behind to just missing a seventh career world title when she crossed the finish line.

“I’m actually pretty excited, because the last three [World Cup] GS races, I was losing a lot more time in the second run,” said Shiffrin, who was fourth, fourth and sixth in the last three World Cup races in GS, which she won at the 2018 Olympics. “Getting even a silver and being so close and hanging onto a medal … it was really not guaranteed, so that’s pretty cool.

“That was just the best that I could do [in the second run.”

ALPINE WORLDS: TV Schedule | Results

Gut-Behrami earned her third medal at these worlds, following a super-G gold and downhill bronze, to become the most decorated Swiss woman in world championships history. It’s been the best week of an undulating career.

Gut-Behrami arrived at age 17 with a pair of world silver medals in 2009. She won the World Cup overall title in 2016 before tearing her left knee at the 2017 Worlds. She came to Cortina as the most successful World Cup skier (30 victories) without an Olympic or world title.

“When Mikaela crossed the finish line, I thought she had won,” Gut-Behrami said. “I’ve been struggling a lot in the last years, but this year I was coming back step by step.”.

Shiffrin also earned her third medal, after super-G bronze and combined gold, to extend her streak to medals in her last nine world championships races dating to 2015.

Shiffrin continued an impressive world championships in the middle of a challenging World Cup season after going 300 days between races following her father’s death last Feb. 2 and an early autumn back injury.

She came to worlds ranked third in the World Cup in slalom, fifth in giant slalom and without any starts in downhill and super-G.

Now she’s on 10 world championships medals going into the finale, Saturday’s slalom, where she’s the four-time defending world champion.

“It’s already been incredibly successful,” Shiffrin said of Cortina.

American Nina O’Brien was in second place after the first run, despite having a best World Cup finish of ninth in 45 starts. She led as the penultimate skier in the second run before a late mistake dropped her to 10th.

Slovakian Petra Vlhova, the defending world GS champion, was 12th. She was out of it after trailing by 1.17 seconds after the opening run.

Marta Bassino of Italy, the world’s top-ranked GS skier, finished 13th. Bassino took herself out of gold-medal contention by placing 15th in the opening run, 1.54 seconds slower than Shiffrin.

Another Italian, Federica Brignone, the world’s top GS skier last season, skied out in the first run.

Worlds continue Friday with the men’s giant slalom, where Frenchman Alexis Pinturault is the favorite.

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Aksel Lund Svindal, Olympic Alpine champ, has testicular cancer, ‘prognosis good’

Aksel Lund Svindal
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Aksel Lund Svindal, a retired Olympic Alpine skiing champion from Norway, said he underwent surgery for testicular cancer and the prognosis “looked very good.”

“Tests, scans and surgery all happened very quickly,” Svindal, 39, wrote on social media. “And already after the first week I knew the prognoses looked very good. All thanks to that first decision to go see a doctor as soon as I suspected something was off.”

Svindal retired in 2019 after winning the Olympic super-G in 2010 and downhill in 2018. He also won five world titles among the downhill, combined and giant slalom and two World Cup overall titles.

Svindal said he felt a change in his body that prompted him to see a doctor.

“The last few weeks have been different,” he wrote. “But I’m able to say weeks and not months because of great medical help, a little luck and a good decision.

“I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it was anything at all. … [I] was quickly transferred to the hospital where they confirmed what the doctor suspected. Testicle cancer.”

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
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The U.S. goes for its fourth consecutive title at the FIBA World Cup in Sydney — and eighth global gold in a row overall when including the Olympics.

A’ja Wilson, a two-time WNBA MVP, and Breanna Stewart, the Tokyo Olympic MVP, headline a U.S. roster that, for the first time since 2000, includes neither Sue Bird (retired) nor Diana Taurasi (injured).

The new-look team includes nobody over the age of 30 for the first time since 1994, before the U.S. began its dynasty at the 1996 Atlanta Games. The Americans have won 52 consecutive games between worlds and the Olympics dating to the 2006 Worlds bronze-medal game.

The field also includes host Australia, the U.S.’ former primary rival, and Olympic silver medalist Japan.

Nigeria, which played the U.S. the closest of any foe in Tokyo (losing by nine points), isn’t present after its federation withdrew the team over governance issues. Spain, ranked second in the world, failed to qualify.

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2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Round
Wed., Sept. 21 8:30 p.m. Puerto Rico 82, Bosnia and Herzegovina 58 Group A
9:30 p.m. USA 87, Belgium 72 Group A
11 p.m. Canada 67, Serbia 60 Group B
Thurs., Sept. 22 12 a.m. Japan 89, Mali 56 Group B
3:30 a.m. China 107, South Korea 44 Group A
6:30 a.m. France 70, Australia 57 Group B
8:30 p.m. USA 106, Puerto Rico 42 Group A
10 p.m. Serbia 69, Japan 64 Group B
11 p.m. Belgium 84, South Korea 61 Group A
Fri., Sept. 23 12:30 a.m. China 98, Bosnia and Herzegovina 51 Group A
4 a.m. Canada 59, France 45 Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia 118, Mali 58 Group B
Sat., Sept. 24 12:30 a.m. USA 77, China 63 Group A
4 a.m. South Korea 99, Bosnia and Herzegovina 66 Group A
6:30 a.m. Belgium 68, Puerto Rico 65 Group A
Sun., Sept. 25 12:30 a.m. France vs. Mali Group B
4 a.m. Australia vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Canada vs. Japan Group B
9:30 p.m. Belgium vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
11:30 p.m. Mali vs. Serbia Group B
Mon., Sept. 26 12 a.m. USA vs. South Korea Group A
2 a.m. France vs. Japan Group B
3:30 a.m. China vs. Puerto Rico Group A
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Canada Group B
9:30 p.m. Puerto Rico vs. South Korea Group A
11:30 p.m. Belgium vs. China Group A
Tues., Sept. 27 12 a.m. USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina Group A
2 a.m. Canada vs. Mali Group B
3:30 a.m. France vs. Serbia Group B
6:30 a.m. Australia vs. Japan Group B
Wed., Sept. 28 10 p.m. Quarterfinal
Thurs., Sept. 29 12:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
4 a.m. Quarterfinal
6:30 a.m. Quarterfinal
Fri., Sept. 30 3 .m. Semifinal
5:30 a.m. Semifinal
11 p.m. Third-Place Game
Sat., Oct. 1 2 a.m. Final