Mikaela Shiffrin ends what could be her best season at World Cup Finals, live on Peacock


Now that Mikaela Shiffrin broke the Alpine skiing World Cup career wins record, plus clinched season titles in the overall, giant slalom and slalom, there may just be one significant, outstanding question for her going into this week’s World Cup Finals.

Is it her best World Cup season ever?

At the World Cup Finals in Andorra, which start with downhills Wednesday, Shiffrin finishes her season with three races: Thursday’s super-G, Saturday’s slalom and Sunday’s giant slalom. All of the women’s races, plus Friday’s mixed-gender team parallel event, air live on Peacock.

“In the beginning of the season, if I could scrape by with five [wins] and the overall [season title], that would be, like, out of this world,” Shiffrin said after Saturday’s record-breaking win, her 13th race victory this season. “So I don’t really know what to say about this season.”

2023 Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals Broadcast Schedule

Wednesday Men’s Downhill Skiandsnowboard.live 5 a.m. (ET)
Women’s Downhill Peacock 6:30 a.m.
Thursday Women’s Super-G (Shiffrin) Peacock 5 a.m.
Men’s Super-G Skiandsnowboard.live 6:30 a.m.
Friday Team Parallel Peacock 7 a.m.
Saturday Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) Skiandsnowboard.live 4 a.m.
Women’s Slalom (Run 1) (Shiffrin) Peacock 5:30 a.m.
Men’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) Skiandsnowboard.live 7 a.m.
Women’s Slalom (Run 2) (Shiffrin) Peacock 8:30 a.m.
Highlights CNBC 3 p.m.*
Sunday Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 1) (Shiffrin) Peacock 4 a.m.
Men’s Slalom (Run 1) Skiandsnowboard.live 5:30 a.m.
Women’s Giant Slalom (Run 2) (Shiffrin) Peacock 7 a.m.
Men’s Slalom (Run 2) Skiandsnowboard.live 8:30 a.m.
Highlights CNBC 3 p.m.*

*Delayed broadcast.

The best measure of an Alpine skier’s yearly success is their World Cup points. For each race, a winner receives 100 points on a descending scale through 30th place, which receives one point. At World Cup Finals, where fields are smaller than 30, only the top 15 score points.

Shiffrin has 2,028 points this season, nearly double second-place Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, which allowed her to clinch the overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, two weeks before World Cup Finals.

In 2018-19, Shiffrin’s best season, she scored 2,204 points, the second-highest total in history behind Tina Maze‘s 2,414 from 2012-13. Shiffrin can surpass 2,204 with two wins in three starts this week, or other combinations of strong finishes.

Shiffrin has also said that, at times this season, she has produced the best skiing of her career.

But comparing 2023 to 2019 is not apples to apples. The more one dissects, a stronger case can be made for 2018-19.

In 2018-19, Shiffrin earned 17 World Cup wins, the most by any male or female Alpine skier in one season. She has 13 wins so far this season, so the most that she can finish with is 16.

In 2018-19, there were 35 races. This season, there will be 38, assuming none of the World Cup Finals events get canceled due to weather, meaning more opportunities to accumulate wins and points.

She has 28 starts this season, her most ever. If she wins all three races this week, she will have averaged 75 points per start this season. She had 26 starts in 2018-19, when she averaged nearly 85 points per start.

Shiffrin has talked about the fatigue she felt after 2018-19.

She has been busier this season, but her life changed significantly in the four years in between.

“I guess maybe I’m equally as tired,” as in 2019, she said. “Having done that season, maybe I feel like my capacity for fatigue is higher, but then at the same time. … What I’ve experienced over the last couple years, my understanding of fatigue, it’s completely different. I said I was tired in the 2018-19 season, but that was before I ever experienced not sleeping for three weeks straight [after my father’s death in February 2020].”

In at least one way, she sees a similarity between the two seasons.

“For our team, despite anything that happens, to be able to remain focused on the skiing and sort of the process of still going out every day in training and freeskiing and doing the drills and doing all the things that allow me to possibly win races,” she said. “It’s not 17 [wins], but [13] is a number that I never thought I could get in a single season again in my career.”

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Football takes significant step in Olympic push

Flag Football
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Football took another step toward possible Olympic inclusion with the IOC executive board proposing that the sport’s international federation — the IFAF — be granted full IOC recognition at a meeting in October.

IOC recognition does not equate to eventual Olympic inclusion, but it is a necessary early marker if a sport is to join the Olympics down the line. The IOC gave the IFAF provisional recognition in 2013.

Specific measures are required for IOC recognition, including having an anti-doping policy compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency and having 50 affiliated national federations from at least three continents. The IFAF has 74 national federations over five continents with almost 4.8 million registered athletes, according to the IOC.

The NFL has helped lead the push for flag football to be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. Flag football had medal events for men and women at last year’s World Games, a multi-sport competition including Olympic and non-Olympic sports, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Football is one of nine sports that have been reported to be in the running to be proposed by LA 2028 to the IOC to be added for the 2028 Games only. LA 2028 has not announced which, if any sports, it plans to propose.

Under rules instituted before the Tokyo Games, Olympic hosts have successfully proposed to the IOC adding sports solely for their edition of the Games.

For Tokyo, baseball-softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were added. For Paris, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved again, and breaking will make its Olympic debut. Those sports were added four years out from the Games.

For 2028, the other sports reportedly in the running for proposal are baseball and softball, breaking, cricket, karate, kickboxing, lacrosse, motorsports and squash.

All of the other eight sports reportedly in the running for 2028 proposal already have a federation with full IOC recognition (if one counts the international motorcycle racing federation for motorsports).

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Helen Maroulis stars in wrestling documentary, with help from Chris Pratt

Helen Maroulis, Chris Pratt

One of the remarkable recent Olympic comeback stories is the subject of a film that will be shown nationwide in theaters for one day only on Thursday.

“Helen | Believe” is a documentary about Helen Maroulis, the first U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling champion. It is produced by Religion of Sports, the venture founded by Gotham Chopra, Michael Strahan and Tom Brady. Showing details are here.

After taking gold at the 2016 Rio Games, Maroulis briefly retired in 2019 during a two-year stretch in which she dealt with concussions and post-traumatic stress disorder. The film focuses on that period and her successful bid to return and qualify for the Tokyo Games, where she took bronze.

In a poignant moment in the film, Maroulis described her “rock bottom” — being hospitalized for suicidal ideations.

In an interview, Maroulis said she was first approached about the project in 2018, the same year she had her first life-changing concussion that January. A wrestling partner’s mother was connected to director Dylan Mulick.

Maroulis agreed to the film in part to help spread mental health awareness in sports. Later, she cried while watching the 2020 HBO film, “The Weight of Gold,” on the mental health challenges that other Olympians faced, because it resonated with her so much.

“When you’re going through something, it sometimes gives you an anchor of hope to know that someone’s been through it before, and they’ve overcome it,” she said.

Maroulis’ comeback story hit a crossroads at the Olympic trials in April 2021, where the winner of a best-of-three finals series in each weight class made Team USA.

Maroulis won the opening match against Jenna Burkert, but then lost the second match. Statistically, a wrestler who loses the second match in a best-of-three series usually loses the third. But Maroulis pinned Burkert just 22 seconds into the rubber match to clinch the Olympic spot.

Shen then revealed that she tore an MCL two weeks earlier.

“They told me I would have to be in a brace for six weeks,” she said then. “I said, ‘I don’t have that. I have two and a half.’”

Maroulis said she later asked the director what would have happened if she didn’t make the team for Tokyo. She was told the film still have been done.

“He had mentioned this isn’t about a sports story or sports comeback story,” Maroulis said. “This is about a human story. And we’re using wrestling as the vehicle to tell this story of overcoming and healing and rediscovering oneself.”

Maroulis said she was told that, during filming, the project was pitched to the production company of actor Chris Pratt, who wrestled in high school in Washington. Pratt signed on as a producer.

“Wrestling has made an impact on his life, and so he wants to support these kinds of stories,” said Maroulis, who appeared at last month’s Santa Barbara Film Festival with Pratt.

Pratt said he knew about Maroulis before learning about the film, which he said “needed a little help to get it over the finish line,” according to a public relations company promoting the film.

The film also highlights the rest of the six-woman U.S. Olympic wrestling team in Tokyo. Four of the six won a medal, including Tamyra Mensah-Stock‘s gold.

“I was excited to be part of, not just (Maroulis’) incredible story, but also helping to further advance wrestling and, in particular, female wrestling,” Pratt said, according to responses provided by the PR company from submitted questions. “To me, the most compelling part of Helen’s story is the example of what life looks like after a person wins a gold medal. The inevitable comedown, the trauma around her injuries, the PTSD, the drive to continue that is what makes her who she is.”

Maroulis, who now trains in Arizona, hopes to qualify for this year’s world championships and next year’s Olympics.

“I try to treat every Games as my last,” she said. “Now I’m leaning toward being done [after 2024], but never say never.”

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