Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins first Wengen downhill; American clinches Olympic spot


WENGEN, Switzerland — The rivalry between Aleksander Aamodt Kilde and Marco Odermatt emerged again Friday in a World Cup downhill.

Kilde edged Odermatt by 0.19 seconds to win one day after his Swiss friend had won a super-G in another duel on the storied Lauberhorn hill.

Beat Feuz was third Friday, 0.30 behind the Norwegian winner, while seeking a record fourth win in his home country’s classic race.

ALPINE SKIING WORLD CUP: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Kilde’s second downhill win of the season earned him 100 points and lifted him to the top of the season-long discipline standings. Still, the 2020 overall World Cup champion barely cut the gap on Odermatt in the overall standings.

Odermatt’s relentlessly consistent results have built an overall lead of nearly 400 points with his six wins compared to Kilde’s five from 19 events.

A runner-up finish in Odermatt’s first-ever downhill in Wengen was impressive for being faster than Feuz, his favored teammate and a four-time defending World Cup downhill champion.

The hard-packed snow and bright sunshine on a cold day ensured fast racing with Bryce Bennett hitting a top speed above 93 mph in his seventh-place run, 0.95 behind.

The American’s peak speed came on the Hanneggschuss straight where in 2013 the World Cup record of 100.6 mph was set by Johan Clarey. Now 41, the Frenchman placed 14th on Friday.

Another downhill on the Lauberhorn will be raced Saturday.

Bennett, the top American downhiller, became the second U.S. male Alpine skier to clinch an Olympic spot thanks to a previous World Cup downhill win on Dec. 18.

Bennett, a 29-year-old ranked ninth in the world in the downhill, is going to his second Olympics after finishing 16th and 17th in the downhill and combined in 2018.

Travis Ganong previously clinched an Olympic spot via super-G results. Ryan Cochran-Siegle and River Radamus are likely to sew up their spots later this weekend before the full team is named next week.

The U.S. currently has six men’s quota spots and nine women’s quota spots and could gain more. Mikaela ShiffrinBreezy JohnsonPaula Moltzan and Nina O’Brien clinched spots on the women’s team.

MORE: U.S. athletes qualified for 2022 Winter Olympics

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In a tie, Wendy Holdener puts to rest a remarkable stat in Alpine skiing


Swiss Wendy Holdener ended one of the most remarkable victory droughts in sports by tying for the win with Swede Anna Swenn Larsson in a World Cup slalom in Killington, Vermont, on Sunday.

Holdener, after 15 second-place finishes and 15 third-place finishes in her career, stood on the top step of a World Cup slalom podium for the first time. She shared it with Swenn Larsson, who had six World Cup slalom podiums before Sunday and also earned her first win.

They beat Austrian Katharina Truppe by .22 of a second combining times from two runs.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Holdener, 29, previously won three World Cups in other disciplines, plus two world championships in the combined and Olympic and world titles in the team event.

“To be tied first when I came into the finish was such a relief,” Holdener said while shoulder to shoulder with Swenn Larsson. “On the end, it’s perfect, because now we can share our first win together.”

Mikaela Shiffrin had the best first-run time but lost her lead midway through the second run and finished fifth. Shiffrin, who won the first two slaloms this season last weekend, was bidding for a 50th World Cup slalom victory and a sixth win in six slaloms in Killington.

“I fought. I think some spots I got a little bit off my timing, but I was pushing, and that’s slalom,” she said before turning her attention to Holdener and Swenn Larsson. “It’s a pretty special day, actually.”

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup moves next weekend to Lake Louise, Alberta, with two downhills and a super-G.

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Injured Ilia Malinin wins Grand Prix Finland, qualifies for Grand Prix Final

Ilia Malinin

Ilia Malinin, competing “a little bit injured” this week, still won Grand Prix Finland and goes into the Grand Prix Final in two weeks as the world’s top-ranked male singles skater.

Malinin, who was second after Friday’s short program, landed four clean quadruple jumps in Saturday’s free skate to overtake Frenchman Kevin Aymoz.

Malinin, who landed a quad flip in competition for the first time, according to, also attempted a quad Axel to open his program, but spun out of the landing and put his hand down on the ice.

Malinin also won his previous two starts this season in come-from-behind fashion. The 17-year-old world junior champion became the first skater to land a clean, fully rotated quad Axel in September, then did it again in October at Skate America, where he posted the world’s top overall score this season.

Next, Malinin can become the second-youngest man to win the Grand Prix Final after Russian Yevgeny Plushenko. His biggest competition is likely to be world champion Shoma Uno of Japan, who like Malinin won both of his Grand Prix starts this fall. Malinin and Uno have not gone head-to-head this season.

Grand Prix Finland highlights air on NBC, and the NBC Sports app on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

FIGURE SKATING: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Earlier, Japan’s Mai Mihara overtook world silver medalist Loena Hendrickx of Belgium to become the only woman to win both of her Grand Prix starts this season. Mihara prevailed by .23 of a point. The top three women this season by best total score are Japanese, led by a junior skater, 14-year-old Mao Shimada, who isn’t Olympic age-eligible until 2030.

Mihara and Hendrickx qualified for the Grand Prix Final, joining world champion Kaori Sakamoto and Rinka Watanabe, both of Japan, South Korean Yelim Kim and American Isabeau Levito, the world junior champion.

Italians Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won both pairs’ programs and qualified for their first Grand Prix Final.

Japan’s Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier headline the Final. Both pairs won each of their Grand Prix starts earlier this fall. The Japanese have the world’s two best scores this season. The Americans are reigning world champions.

At least one Russian or Chinese pair made every Grand Prix Final podium — usually pairs from both countries — but neither nation competed in pairs this Grand Prix season. All Russian skaters are banned due to the war in Ukraine. China’s lone entry on the Grand Prix across all disciplines was an ice dance couple.

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier improved on their world-leading score for this season in winning the ice dance by 17.03 points over Americans Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker. Both couples qualified for the Grand Prix Final in the absence of all three Olympic medalists this fall.

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