Mikaela Shiffrin wins again, moves two away from Ingemar Stenmark’s record

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A day after breaking her tie with Lindsey VonnMikaela Shiffrin won again, moving two victories shy of the overall Alpine skiing World Cup record.

Shiffrin swept a pair of giant slaloms in Kronplatz, Italy, the last two days to give her 84 World Cup wins, taking Wednesday’s race by 82 hundredths of a second over Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel combining times from two runs.

“After yesterday, I was just so tired,” Shiffrin, who said she was awake at midnight, 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. after Tuesday’s milestone, told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “I felt nervous because I was tired. When I’m skiing tired, then I make mistakes. … In the first run, I thought I’m either going to go out of the course in the fourth gate, or it’s going to be a really good run. It ended up being a really good run.”

Swede Ingemar Stenmark won 86 times in the 1970s and ’80s.

Paula Moltzan was seventh on Wednesday and Nina O’Brien 10th. It’s the first time three U.S. women made the top 10 of a World Cup race in five years.

Three Americans made the top 10 of a World Cup technical race (giant slalom or slalom) for the first time since Dec. 3, 2005 (Bode Miller, Daron Rahlves, Erik Schlopy). From January 2017 to October 2020, Shiffrin was the only U.S. women to finish in the top 10 of any traditional World Cup slalom or giant slalom.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

ON HER TURF: U.S. women’s Alpine skiing pioneer reflects on Shiffrin

Shiffrin can tie Stenmark as early as Sunday with two slaloms this weekend in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, site of Shiffrin’s first World Cup start at age 15 in 2011.

“Technically, it is possible,” she said. “I’m going out for some training tomorrow, and then going to try to get a really good, efficient, recovery day, and then we’ll see if I can put the energy on my slalom skis for two more races.

“It’s busy, and I’m kind of at an unfortunate time of my monthly cycle,” she continued with a smile and a laugh. “So I’m, like, more tired right now. So just normalize talking about that.”

After that, the record pursuit pauses for the world championships in France. World championships races do not count as World Cups.

Shiffrin has 10 wins in 21 starts this season, her most successful campaign since her record 17-victory season in 2018-19.

Her 19 career World Cup giant slalom wins are second in women’s history, one behind retired Swiss Vreni Schneider. Shiffrin’s 51 World Cup slalom wins are the most for any Alpine skier in any discipline.

“Between the second race in Kranjska Gora [two weeks ago] and these two races yesterday and today, it’s the best GS skiing I ever did,” she said, according to the International Ski Federation.

LAYDEN: Shiffrin’s numbers tell us a story we should already know

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Scotty James wins fifth X Games snowboard halfpipe title

Scotty James
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Scotty James doesn’t have Olympic gold, but he remains king of the X Games halfpipe.

James, the Australian snowboarder who took bronze and silver at the last two Olympics, earned his fifth Aspen gold, repeating as champ of the biggest annual contest under falling snow in the Colorado Rockies. Only the retired Shaun White has more X Games men’s snowboard halfpipe titles with eight.

Nobody on Friday night attempted a triple cork, which was first done in competition by Japan’s Ayumu Hirano last season en route to the Olympic title. Hirano placed sixth Friday.

“It was a tough night, pretty interesting conditions,” James said. “Had to adjust the game plan. The show goes on.”

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

Earlier, Olympic gold medalist Zoi Sadowski-Synnott of New Zealand repeated as women’s snowboard slopestyle champion, passing Olympic bronze medalist Tess Coady of Australia on the final run of the competition. Sadowski-Synnott, the only snowboarder or skier to win Olympic, world and X Games slopestyle titles, capped her finale with back-to-back 900s.

The competition lacked 2014 and 2018 Olympic champion Jamie Anderson, who announced her pregnancy last month.

Canada’s Megan Oldham landed the first triple cork in women’s ski big air competition history to beat Olympic silver medalist Tess Ledeux of France, according to commentators. Oldham, a 21-year-old ex-gymnast, was fourth at the Olympics.

Eileen Gu, the Olympic champion from China, did not compete but is entered in halfpipe and slopestyle later this weekend.

ON HER TURF: U.S. freeskier Maggie Voisin on grief, loss, finding motivation

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Isabeau Levito wins U.S. figure skating title at age 15, followed by comeback stories

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Isabeau Levito won her first U.S. figure skating title at age 15, cementing her status as the new leading American woman to open the new Olympic cycle.

Levito, the world junior champion, tallied 223.33 points between two strong programs in San Jose, California. She distanced two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022 and scored 213.12.

Tennell was just two hundredths behind Levito after Thursday’s short but had multiple jumping errors in the free skate.

Levito followed her as last to go in the free and nailed the most pressure-packed performance of her young career, including the hardest jump combination done of the entire field. She didn’t receive a single negative mark from a judge for her 19 technical elements in her two programs.

Moments later, she was in tears backstage.

FIGURE SKATING NATIONALS: Full Scores | Broadcast Schedule

“I was just so proud of myself for staying so calm and staying so focused, doing exactly what I aimed to do,” Levito, who hasn’t finished off the podium in more than 20 events dating to November 2016, said on NBC. “I’m ready to start bouncing off the walls.”

Amber Glenn, 23, placed third and will likely become the oldest U.S. women’s singles skater to make her world championships debut in at least 45 years. Glenn botched her 11th attempt to join the list of U.S. women to land a clean triple Axel (tally according to Skatingscores.com) but still moved up from fourth after the short program, passing Starr Andrews.

Last year, Glenn entered nationals as the fourth-ranked U.S. woman and a hopeful for the three-woman Olympic team. She placed 14th in the short program, competing unknowingly with COVID-19, then tested positive and withdrew before the free skate.

In 2021, Glenn was the U.S. silver medalist, yet passed over for a spot on the two-woman world team in favor of the more experienced Karen Chen, who finished 35 hundredths behind Glenn at those nationals.

Levito, Tennell and Glenn are expected to make up the team for March’s world championships, decided by a committee.

Gracie Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fifth after the short program, popped a pair of planned triple Lutzes and dropped to eighth.

None of the three 2022 U.S. Olympians competed. Alysa Liu and Mariah Bell retired. Chen is a student at Cornell and might not return.

Nationals continue Saturday with the free dance and pairs’ free skate, live on NBC Sports and Peacock.

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