U.S. Olympic short track speed skating trials preview, broadcast schedule

U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Short Track
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The U.S. Olympic short track speed skating trials will produce seven Olympians, live on NBC Sports, NBCOlympics.com and Peacock this weekend at the Utah Olympic Oval outside Salt Lake City.

The U.S. qualified spots for five women and two men at the Beijing Winter Games.

Women and men will each contest all three individual Olympic distances (500m, 1000m, 1500m) twice from Friday through Sunday. Combined results will determine the Olympic team.

The top-ranked woman in each distance is guaranteed a spot, barring a successful injury petition. After that, it’s based on results and rankings for individual events and combined distances.

The American women outperformed the men in the recent World Cup season, qualifying a relay team for the Olympics for the first time since 2010 (the last time the U.S. earned a women’s short track medal in any event).

Kristen Santos was the standout, making three podiums, including the first individual win for a U.S. woman since 2012. The 27-year-old is ranked second in the world in the 1000m and fourth in the 1500m.

Santos was fourth overall at the 2018 Olympic Trials, where three women made the team. A month before those trials, she needed surgery after another skater’s blade sliced her hand and wrist at a World Cup.

Maame Biney is the lone woman in the trials field with Olympic experience. Born in Ghana, Biney moved to the U.S. at age 5 and was raised in Reston, Va., by a single father, Kweku. In 2018, she made the Olympic team at age 17, becoming the first Black woman to compete for the U.S. in Olympic short track.

Biney is favored to make the team again after qualifying for the national team for World Cups this past fall. She’s ranked 21st in the world in her best event, the 500m.

The U.S. will have its smallest contingent of male Olympic short track skaters since the sport’s medal-event debut in 1992. It failed to qualify a relay team for the Olympics for the first time since 1992.

No man in the trials field has competed at an Olympics. Past medalists J.R. Celski retired in 2018 and John-Henry Krueger switched to Hungary.

Enter Ryan Pivirotto. He made the 2018 Olympic team in the fifth and final spot, strictly in the relay pool. But since the relay is four men, there was always going to be a chance that he wasn’t selected to compete at the Olympics. That ended up being the case as the U.S. went with its top four in both the preliminary heats and consolation final in South Korea.

Pivirotto, 26, is the second-ranked U.S. man behind Brandon Kim. Kim, a 20-year-old who was accepted to Stanford, ranks 29th overall in the world.

U.S. Olympic Short Track Speed Skating Trials Broadcast Schedule

Day Time (ET) Event Platform
Friday 8:30 p.m. 1500m, 500m NBCSN | Peacock | STREAM LINK
Saturday 5:30 p.m. 1000m, 1500m NBCSN | Peacock | STREAM LINK
Sunday 4:30 p.m. 500m, 1000m NBC | Peacock | STREAM LINK

All coverage also streams on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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