Steven Nyman misses out as U.S. Olympic Alpine skiing team finalized

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The U.S. Olympic Alpine skiing team, headlined by Mikaela Shiffrin, was finalized with the last five roster members named Friday.

Steven Nyman, who raced in three previous Olympics and turns 40 during the Beijing Games, was the most notable missing name from the final skiers named to the team.

Instead, the sixth and last men’s spot went to Tommy Ford, the U.S.’ top male giant slalom skier in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

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

Ford, a 2010 and 2018 Olympian, has not competed since a race crash on Jan. 9, 2021, when he was knocked unconscious, suffered a concussion and torn ligaments in his knee and hand. But Ford had the ability to petition for a spot on the team.

Nyman was named to the previous four Olympic teams, with a best finish of 19th in the downhill in 2006, but he did not race at the 2018 PyeongChang Games after tearing his right ACL in downhill training two weeks beforehand.

Nyman had the inside track to the last Olympic men’s spot as the U.S.’ third-ranked super-G skier, barring another skier’s successful petition.

Six is the fewest male Alpiners the U.S. qualified for an Olympics since 1984, the last Games before the super-G was added.

Travis GanongBryce BennettRyan Cochran-SiegleRiver Radamus and Luke Winters previously qualified through World Cup results.

The U.S. women’s team of 11 — the maximum a nation can qualify — was rounded out Friday with the announcement of first-time Olympians A.J. HurtKatie Hensien and Mo Lebel, plus Tricia Mangan, a 2018 Olympian.

Seven women previously qualified: Shiffrin, Breezy JohnsonPaula MoltzanNina O’BrienJackie WilesKeely Cashman and Bella Wright.

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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

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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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