Mikaela Shiffrin begins Olympic season this weekend on Peacock

Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup - Women's Giant Slalom
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Mikaela Shiffrin‘s campaign for a third Olympic Winter Games begins bright and early Saturday morning.

Shiffrin will take to the hills of the Rettenbach glacier in Austria to kick off the 2021-2022 FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup season.

The two-run women’s giant slalom race in Soelden starts at 4 a.m. Eastern; the second run is at 7:15 a.m. Both runs will be streamed live on Peacock.

The men’s giant slalom races will be streamed live at 4 and 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Shiffrin, now 26, has accomplished what only few in the sport have: three Olympic medals, eight world championship medals, three overall World Cup crystal globes and 69 World Cup victories.

As the technical specialist starts to accumulate points that will qualify her for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, she hopes to again make a potential run at the overall globe – plus the slalom one.

After winning the slalom title in six of the previous seven seasons, Shiffrin finished second last season. She was also second for the overall, which she held from 2017-2019.

She only amassed three victories last season – her fewest since she started winning races in the 2012-2013 season – but was on the world championship podium in all four races she entered.

This season, Shiffrin has her sights set on returning to the top of the World Cup podium more often and, ideally, entering all five Olympic races come February.

In Sochi at age 18, Shiffrin won the slalom Olympic gold and was fifth in giant slalom; in PyeongChang, she won giant slalom gold, combined silver and was fourth in slalom.

She will be joined by teammates Keely CashmanAJ HurtPaula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien in Soelden.

The men’s giant slalom race features U.S. Olympian Ryan Cochran-Siegle in his return from a broken neck last season plus Bridger Gile, River RadamusPatrick Kenney and George Steffey.

FIS Alpine Ski Soelden World Cup Streaming Schedule:

Saturday, Oct. 23: Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1, 4 a.m. – 6 .a.m. ET, Peacock

Saturday, Oct. 23: Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2, 7:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. ET, Peacock

Sunday, Oct. 24: Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1, 4 a.m. – 6 a.m. ET, Peacock

Sunday, Oct. 24: Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2, 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. ET, Peacock

French Open: Iga Swiatek rolls toward possible Coco Gauff rematch

Iga Swiatek

Iga Swiatek reached the French Open third round without dropping a set, eyeing a third Roland Garros title in four years. Not that she needed the help, but Swiatek’s immediate draw is wide open after the rest of the seeds in her section lost.

Swiatek dispatched 102nd-ranked American Claire Liu 6-4, 6-0 on Thursday, the same score as her first-round win. She gets 80th-ranked Wang Xinyu of China in the round of 32.

The other three seeds in Swiatek’s section all lost in the first round, so the earliest that the world No. 1 could play another seed is the quarterfinals. And that would be No. 6 Coco Gauff, who was runner-up to Swiatek last year.

Gauff plays her second-round match later Thursday against 61st-ranked Austrian Julia Grabher. Gauff also doesn’t have any seeds in her way before a possible Swiatek showdown.

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Swiatek, who turned 22 on Wednesday, came into this year’s French Open without the invincibility of a year ago, when she was 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.

She retired from her last pre-French Open match with a right thigh injury, but said it wasn’t serious. That diagnosis appears to have been spot-on through two matches this week, though her serve was broken twice in the first set of each match.

While the men’s draw has been upended by 14-time champion Rafael Nadal‘s pre-event withdrawal and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev‘s loss in the first round, the top women have taken care of business.

Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, American Jessica Pegula and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan also reached the third round without dropping a set.

Though all of them have beaten Swiatek in 2023, the Pole remains the favorite to lift the trophy a week from Saturday. She can join Serena Williams and Justine Henin as the lone women to win three or more French Opens since 2000.

She can also become the youngest woman to win three French Opens since Monica Seles in 1992 and the youngest woman to win four Slams overall since Williams in 2002.

Swiatek doesn’t dwell on it.

“I never even played Serena or Monica Seles,” she said. “I’m kind of living my own life and having my own journey.”

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Penny Oleksiak to miss world swimming championships

Penny Oleksiak

Seven-time Olympic medalist Penny Oleksiak of Canada will miss July’s world swimming championships because she does not expect to be recovered enough from knee and shoulder injuries.

“The bar that we set was, can she be as good as she’s ever been at these world championships?” coach Ryan Mallette said in a press release. “We just don’t feel like we’re going to be ready to be 100 percent yet this summer. Our focus is to get her back to 100 percent as soon as possible to get ready for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

Oleksiak, who owns the Canadian record of seven Olympic medals (across all sports), missed Canada’s trials meet for worlds two months ago due to the injuries. She was still named to the team at the time in hope that she would be ready in time for worlds.

The 22-year-old returned to competition last month at a Mare Nostrum meet in Barcelona, after which she chose to focus on continued rehab rather than compete at worlds in Fukuoka, Japan.

“Swimming at Mare Nostrum was a checkpoint for worlds, and I gave it my best shot,” Oleksiak said in the release. “We reviewed my swims there, and it showed me the level I want to get back to. Now I need to focus on my rehab to get back to where I want to be and put myself in position to be at my best next season.”

Oleksiak had knee surgery last year to repair a meniscus. After that, she developed a left shoulder injury.

In 2016, Oleksiak tied for Olympic 100m freestyle gold with American Simone Manuel. She also earned 100m butterfly silver in Rio and 200m free bronze in Tokyo, along with four relay medals between those two Games.

At last year’s worlds, she earned four relay medals and placed fourth in the 100m free.

She anchored the Canadian 4x100m free relay to silver behind Australia at the most recent Olympics and worlds.

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