Nils van der Poel snaps Dutch dominance one last time before retirement

Nils van der Poel, Patrick Roest

Swede Nils van der Poel rallied to win the biggest title missing from his resume, again knocking off a Dutchman, in his penultimate competition before retirement from elite racing.

Van der Poel became the first Swede in 49 years to win the world men’s allround — one of the most storied events in sports dating to 1893 that combines results from the 500m, 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m over two days of racing.

Van der Poel needed to beat Dutch rival Patrick Roest by more than 21 seconds in the closing 10,000m after Roest was stronger over shorter distances.

After van der Poel skated 10.82 seconds slower than his world record from the Olympics, Roest went 41.49 seconds slower than his silver-medal time from Beijing, handing van der Poel the title.

At the Olympics, van der Poel relegated Roest to silver in the 5000m and 10,000m by .47 of a second and 13.85 seconds, respectively.

Van der Poel snapped a streak of nine consecutive world allround titles for Dutchmen, a run that also included Sven Kramer (five titles), Koen Verweij (one) and Roest (three). The last Swede to win was Göran Claeson in 1973.

Van der Poel said before the championships that he planned to retire from top-level competition after next week’s World Cup Finals, though he has tried to quit twice before and come back. On Sunday, van der Poel didn’t rule out a return.

“The idea is to have a final goodbye to the elite part of the sport,” he said, according to the International Skating Union. “I said I’ll skate Swedish Championships for as long as I can and if I’m in shape enough next year, maybe I’ll go to the 10,000m World Cup and meet my friends, just to have fun with it.”

Dutchwoman Irene Schouten, who won all three Olympic distance races, captured her first world allround title. She held off Japanese Miho Takagi, who took Olympic gold in the 1000m and silver in the 500m and 1500m.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight


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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

Lucas Braathen

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

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!