Mikaela Shiffrin chases another record this weekend; broadcast info

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin is less than a month into what she hopes is a more normal season, and she’s already experiencing why ski racing is never that predictable.

She earned her 70th World Cup victory at the opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, on Oct. 23. Shiffrin flew home and set out for a two-week training block chock full of days with one session each of speed-event and technical-event work in her native Colorado.

But a back injury that’s bothered the 26-year-old throughout her career flared up. Last fall, acute back tightness kept her out of Soelden, affected her for two months and led her to say it was the first injury that posed some threat to her ski racing career.

Shiffrin believes the worst of this episode is over, but it reduced her domestic training by about 85 percent before flying to Europe for the first slaloms of the season in Levi, Finland, on Saturday and Sunday (Peacock, 4:30 a.m. ET first run, 7:30 second run both days).

“It’s just back to sort of the normal ski racer [back] stiffness,” said Shiffrin, describing the previous ailment as something more than a muscle spasm.

If she sweeps the weekend races, Shiffrin will break Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark‘s record for World Cup wins in a single discipline.

Stenmark won 46 giant slaloms. Shiffrin is at 45 slalom victories after adding two last season, going 300 days between races after her father’s February 2020 death, the start of the coronavirus pandemic and the back pain.

ON HER TURF: One of the factors Shiffrin weighs in ski racing future? Climate change

Slovakian Petra Vlhova and then Austrian Katharina Liensberger emerged as challengers, rivals and then conquerors in Shiffrin’s trademark slalom the last few seasons. Their battle resumes in Levi, where Shiffrin has won four times and the prize is a reindeer.

Many of the questions to Shiffrin in a 50-minute press conference Wednesday looked ahead to her third Olympics in February (she is the only U.S. skier who has so far clinched a spot on the team).

Shiffrin repeated that the plan in pencil is to race all five individual events at the Winter Games. She also wanted to do that in 2018 but dropped out of the super-G and downhill after weather postponed the giant slalom and slalom and compressed the schedule.

“I’m planning to race everything, and we’ll have to adjust the schedule from there,” Shiffrin said. “We’ll know more a lot closer to the Games.”

Shiffrin’s preparation and World Cup results will play a role, too. The technical events of slalom and GS are still the priority. If she notices a drop-off in either, she has shelved speed work in the past to put her focus fully on those events.

And then there’s her back.

“The management plan for the different types of flare-ups she has, we’ve gone through a number of them, and we know what works and doesn’t,” U.S. women’s Alpine head coach Paul Kristofic said. “We know some of the triggers as well. So we avoid those, and it’s just managing her the best way we can, and having contingencies in place when we do have issues.”

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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IOC board recommends withdrawing International Boxing Association’s recognition

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: Boxing

The IOC finally ran out of patience with the International Boxing Federation on Wednesday and set a date to terminate its Olympic status this month.

While boxing will still be on the program at the 2024 Paris Games, the International Olympic Committee said its executive board has asked the full membership to withdraw its recognition of the IBA at a special meeting on June 22.

IOC members rarely vote against recommendations from their 15-member board and the IBA’s ouster is likely a formality.

The IOC had already suspended the IBA’s recognition in 2019 over long-standing financial, sports integrity and governance issues. The Olympic body oversaw the boxing competitions itself at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 and will do so again for Paris.

An IOC statement said the boxing body “has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC … for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”

The IBA criticized what it called a “truly abhorrent and purely political” decision by the IOC and warned of “retaliatory measures.”

“Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court,” the boxing body’s Russian president Umar Kremlev said in a statement.

The IOC-IBA standoff has also put boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games at risk, though that should now be resolved.

The IOC previously stressed it has no problem with the sport or its athletes — just the IBA and its current president Kremlev, plus financial dependence on Russian state energy firm Gazprom.

In a 24-page report on IBA issues published Wednesday, the IOC concluded “the accumulation of all of these points, and the constant lack of drastic evolution throughout the many years, creates a situation of no-return.”

Olympic boxing’s reputation has been in question for decades. Tensions heightened after boxing officials worldwide ousted long-time IOC member C.K. Wu as their president in 2017 when the organization was known by its French acronym AIBA.

“From a disreputable organization named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long,” Kremlev said Wednesday in a statement.

National federations then defied IOC warnings in 2018 by electing as their president Gafur Rakhimov, a businessman from Uzbekistan with alleged ties to organized crime and heroin trafficking.

Kremlev’s election to replace Rakhimov in 2020 followed another round of IOC warnings that went unheeded.

Amid the IBA turmoil, a rival organization called World Boxing has attracted initial support from officials in the United States, Switzerland and Britain.

The IBA can still continue to organize its own events and held the men’s world championships last month in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

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