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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Ilia Malinin wins U.S. Figure Skating Championships despite quadruple Axel miss

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One year ago, Ilia Malinin came to the U.S. Championships as, largely, a 17-year-old unknown. He finished second to Nathan Chen in 2022 and was left off the three-man Olympic team due to his inexperience, a committee decision that lit a fire in him.

After the biggest year of change in U.S. figure skating in three decades, Malinin came to this week’s nationals in San Jose, California, as the headliner across all disciplines.

Though he fell on his quadruple Axel and doubled two other planned quads in Sunday’s free skate (the most ambitious program in history), he succeeded the absent Chen as national champion.

Malinin, the world’s second-ranked male singles skater, still landed two clean quads in Friday’s short program and three more Sunday. He totaled 287.74 points and prevailed by 10.43 over two-time Olympian Jason Brown, a bridge between the Chen and Malinin eras.

“This wasn’t the skate that I wanted,” said Malinin, who was bidding to become the second man to land six quads in one program after Chen. The Virginia chalked up the flaws at least partially to putting more recent practice time into his short program, which he skated clean on Friday after errors in previous competitions.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Results

Brown, a 28-year-old competing for the first time since placing sixth at the Olympics, became the oldest male singles skater to finish in the top three at nationals since Jeremy Abbott won the last of his four titles in 2014. As usual, he didn’t attempt a quad but had the highest artistic score by 9.41 points.

Brown’s seven total top-three finishes at nationals tie him with Chen, Michael WeissBrian Boitano, David Jenkins and Dick Button for the second-most in men’s singles since World War II, trailing only Todd Eldredge‘s and Hayes Jenkins‘ eight.

“I’m not saying it’s super old, but I can’t train the way I used to,” Brown said after Friday’s short program. “What Ilia is doing and the way he is pushing the sport is outstanding and incredible to watch. I cannot keep up.”

Andrew Torgashev took bronze, winning the free skate with one quad and all clean jumps. Torgashev, who competed at nationals for the first time since placing fifth in 2020 at age 18, will likely round out the three-man world team.

Japan’s Shoma Uno will likely be the favorite at worlds. He won last year’s world title, when Malinin admittedly cracked under pressure in the free skate after a fourth-place short program and ended up ninth.

That was before Malinin became the first person to land a quad Axel in competition. That was before Malinin became the story of the figure skating world this fall. That was before Malinin took over the American throne from Chen, who is studying at Yale and not expected to return to competition.

Malinin’s next step is to grab another label that Chen long held: best in the world. To do that, he must be better than he was on Sunday.

“You always learn from your experiences, and there’s always still the rest of the season to come,” he said. “I just have to be prepared and prepare a little bit extra so that doesn’t happen again.”

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Mark McMorris breaks Winter X Games medals record; David Wise wins first title in 5 years

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Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris broke his tie with American Jamie Anderson for the most Winter X Games medals across all sites, earning his 22nd medal, a slopestyle gold, in Aspen, Colorado.

On the final run of Sunday’s contest, McMorris overtook Norway’s Marcus Kleveland with back-to-back 1620s on the last two jumps. McMorris’ last three Aspen slopestyle titles were all won on his final run (2019, 2022).

“It’s something I never thought would ever come to me as a kid from Saskatchewan,” McMorris, 29, said on the broadcast. “Everything’s just been a bonus since I became a pro snowboarder.”

In a format introduced three years ago, athletes were ranked on overall impression of their best run over the course of a jam session rather than scoring individual runs.

McMorris won his record-extending seventh X Games Aspen men’s slopestyle title, one day after finishing fourth in big air.

“It just keeps getting crazier because I keep getting older,” he said. “People just keep pushing the limits, pushing the limits. Last night was such a downer, almost bums me out, like, dude, do I still have it? … To have one of those miracle wins where you do it on the last run and someone makes you push yourself, those are the best feelings.”

McMorris won slopestyle bronze medals at each of the last three Olympics and reportedly said last February that he was planning to compete through the 2026 Milan-Cortina Winter Games.

Canadian Max Parrot, the 2022 Olympic slopestyle champion, is taking this season off from competition.

Anderson, a two-time Olympic snowboard slopestyle champion, is expecting her first child.

Later Sunday, American David Wise earned his first major ski halfpipe title since repeating as Olympic champion in 2018. Wise landed back-to-back double cork 1260s to end his winning run, according to commentators.

“I wouldn’t still be out here if I didn’t think I had a chance,” Wise, 32 and now a five-time X Games Aspen champ, said on the broadcast. “I’m not going to be the guy who just keeps playing the game until everybody just begs me to stop.”

U.S. Olympian Mac Forehand won men’s ski big air with a 2160 on his last run, according to commentators. It scored a perfect 50. Olympic gold medalist Birk Ruud of Norway followed with a triple cork 2160 of his own, according to commentators, and finished third.

Canadian skier Megan Oldham added slopestyle gold to her big air title from Friday, relegating Olympic champion Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland to silver.

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