Mikaela Shiffrin’s most memorable World Cup races

Mikaela Shiffrin
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The most memorable of Mikaela Shiffrin‘s 76 World Cup wins heading into the Killington Cup in Vermont on Saturday and Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET each day on NBC and Peacock) …

Dec. 20, 2012: Win No. 1

Under the lights in Åre, Sweden, a 17-year-old Shiffrin became the second-youngest American to win a World Cup (Jody Nagel, 1969). The look on her face was priceless. “I guess I just tried to fly,” she said moments after the victory. “I’m probably going to hug my mom a lot.”

“I don’t really like the success,” she added later, according to The Associated Press. “I like to sleep at night, and I like to hang around the hotel room with my mom. I’m afraid there might be a little hype with this. But I’ll take it. This is what I love to do.”

Nov. 28, 2015: A Record Rout

Shiffrin, a Coloradan, enjoyed some home cooking in Aspen by winning a slalom by a whopping 3.07 seconds combining times from two runs. It was the greatest margin of victory in World Cup women’s slalom history and larger than the margin that separated second place from 18th place.

“I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again,” she said that day. She was right. Shiffrin won by a mere 2.65 seconds the next day (fourth-largest margin in history).

Nov. 27, 2016: First Win In Killington

Shiffrin was recently asked her favorite of her five slalom wins (in five starts) in Killington. She said it was her first on the very first World Cup weekend at the venue. Not so much because of how she performed — prevailing by .73 of a second for a record-tying 10th consecutive World Cup slalom win. But for the moment she shared afterward — a finish area photo with dozens of members of team Shiffrin, including her 95-year-old grandmother. “The most proud I’ve ever been is to win a race in front of my nana,” she said then.

“Sometimes I wonder when I’m racing, is the pressure that I feel right now, and almost the sickness that I feel from this pressure, is it worth it?” she said recently. “Sometimes it only takes a single moment to make you realize how much it is worth it. And that was the moment for me.”

March 17, 2019: Mikaela’s Masterpiece

The exact peak of Shiffrin’s career? On this day, she finished off arguably the greatest season in history (a record 17 World Cup victories), capped by earning her first giant slalom season title at the World Cup Finals.

“The work is so worth it when you’re able to say that I’m really living my dream that I had when I was 5 years old,” she said at those World Cup Finals. “I was thinking, maybe it’s impossible, and then you realize that it is possible and that now you’re starting to push the limits of what everybody in the world thinks is possible. That’s a really cool feeling, but the feeling doesn’t change. I’m still just a girl with a dream.”

Dec. 14, 2020: An Emotional Return

Shiffrin’s first victory since the death of her father, Jeff, the previous Feb. 2. She won a giant slalom in Courchevel, France, and, after a subdued reaction and dropping to her knees, called it bittersweet. “After everything, it’s hard to believe that I could get back to this point,” she said in one of several emotional post-race interviews. “I’m really excited, but it’s also pretty sad because … I guess that’s obvious.”

Later on social media, Shiffrin posted, “Cheers to the wonderful and kind people who said I lost my fire forever. This one’s for you. Also this one’s for every single person who is helping me get the fire back.”

Jan. 11, 2022: An Iconic Victory

Shiffrin burst into tears upon winning a night slalom in Schladming, Austria, an iconic venue for the men that hosted a women’s slalom for just the second time. It was also the venue of Shiffrin’s first world title in 2013. But the setting wasn’t wholly the reason for Shiffrin breaking down. She had been struggling — relatively, for her — in her trademark discipline while rival Petra Vlhova of Slovakia looked stronger and stronger. Shiffrin rallied from fifth place after the first run to win, edging Vlhova, the first-run leader.

“It feels like it didn’t happen,” said Shiffrin, who with the win broke the record for most World Cup victories in a single discipline (her 47th slalom). “Aside from Killington, for obvious reasons, it’s going to be my most memorable race, maybe of my career.”

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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Kaillie Humphries begins trek to 2026 Winter Olympics with monobob World Cup win

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Kaillie Humphries is off to a strong start to a four-year cycle that she hopes ends with her breaking the record as the oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

Humphries, the women’s record holder with three Olympic bobsled titles, earned her first World Cup victory since February’s Winter Games, taking a monobob in Park City, Utah, on Friday.

Humphries, the first Olympic monobob champion, prevailed by .31 of a second over German Lisa Buckwitz combining times from two runs at the 2002 Olympic track.

Humphries has said since February’s Olympics that she planned to take time off in this four-year cycle to start a family, then return in time for the 2026 Milano-Cortina Winter Games. Humphries, who can become the first female Olympic bobsledder in her 40s, shared her experiences with IVF in the offseason on her social media.

“We’ve pushed pause so that I could go and compete this season, maintain my world ranking to be able to still work towards my 2026 goals, and we’ll go back in March to do the implantation of the embryos that we did retrieve,” she said, according to TeamUSA.org.

The next Games come 20 years after her first Olympic experience in Italy, which was a sad one. Humphries, then a bobsled push athlete, was part of the Canadian delegation at the 2006 Torino Games, marched at the Opening Ceremony and had her parents flown in to cheer her on.

But four days before the competition, Humphries learned she was not chosen for either of the two Canadian push athlete spots. She vowed on the flight home to put her future Olympic destiny in her own hands by becoming a driver.

She has since become the greatest female driver in history — Olympic golds in 2010, 2014 and 2022, plus five world championships.

Her longtime rival, five-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor, plans to return to competition from her second childbirth later in this Olympic cycle and can also break the record of oldest female Olympic bobsledder.

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