Mikaela Shiffrin just misses 70th World Cup win to finish season

0 Comments

Mikaela Shiffrin finished second in the last race of the most difficult season of her career, just missing her 70th career World Cup victory while making a 10th consecutive podium.

Shiffrin was runner-up to New Zealand’s Alice Robinson, .28 of a second behind. Shiffrin had the fastest first run, when she was .77 faster than the 19-year-old Kiwi.

Shiffrin gave up a first-run lead for the third time in her last five races, yet finished in the top three for a 10th race in a row dating to the start of February (including world championships).

Full results are here.

“It’s been quite wild — a little bit beyond my hopes or dreams even,” she said of the season, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “There were a lot of moments I didn’t think we would do the season at all with the pandemic. I was also uncertain about myself personally. It’s quite incredible to be here now and have a good amount of success. It’s also a really big step to get back to this place to be fighting for the podiums in almost every race.”

Shiffrin had three wins among 10 podiums in 16 World Cup races this season, contesting strictly slaloms and giant slaloms in her lightest slate since an injury-shortened 2015-16 campaign.

At worlds, she won a record-tying four medals, including combined gold, cementing her as a contender for the same amount of medals at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Only one skier has earned four Alpine medals at a single Games — Croatian Janica Kostelic in 2002.

Shiffrin finished the winter ranked second in the world in slalom (behind Austrian Katharina Liensberger) and in GS (behind Italian Marta Bassino).

Shiffrin, while going 300 days between races following her father’s death on Feb. 2, 2020, questioned whether she could return to racing. She also suffered a back injury in preseason training. She called it “the first injury I’ve had that actually posed some threat to my career as a ski racer.”

“I feel like I had the most improvement this season, more than I ever had in my career,” she said on ORF.

ON HER TURF: Alpine skiers explain: ‘What Mikaela Shiffrin taught me’

Earlier Sunday, Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami made a curious exit in the opening GS run.

Gut-Behrami at first seemed to simply stop racing just a few seconds into her run, one day after she was confirmed as runner-up in the overall to Slovakian Petra Vlhova.

The Swiss star left broadcasters mystified when she skied out after the third gate.

Gut-Behrami, the overall World Cup champion in 2016, began to stand up straight approaching the gate, relaxed her arms and slowly skied back across the hill wide of the next gate.

It was a strange end to her impressive career revival in 2021. Since January, Gut-Behrami won six World Cup races — including four consecutive in super-G — plus two gold medals and a bronze at worlds.

“Lara didn’t have enough energy to give it all and didn’t want to take the risk to get injured and that’s the reason why she stopped,” Swiss team spokesman Jérôme Krieg said in a statement.

There was quick speculation that Gut-Behrami was making a protest against organizers after comments earlier in the week critical of the race week scheduling rules.

The downhill and super-G events — where Gut-Behrami is stronger than Vlhova — were canceled by difficult weather conditions on Wednesday and Thursday.

Krieg said fatigue was “the only reason [for stopping]. She’s happy about her season, that it is over now and that she is healthy.”

Gut-Behrami did not stop to speak with media in the finish area, and was due to return to the course for trophy presentations in the afternoon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ON HER TURF: U.S. skier details eating disorder treatment

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

Aksel Lund Svindal
Getty
0 Comments

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.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

2022 FIBA Women’s World Cup schedule, results

FIBA Women's World Cup
Getty
0 Comments

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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