Mikaela Shiffrin

Getty Images

Mikaela Shiffrin faces decision on rare World Cup weekend; TV, stream schedule

Leave a comment

There are 41 scheduled World Cup races this season. Mikaela Shiffrin has never started more than 30 events in one campaign. After skiing the first seven this fall, and more than doubling the next-best woman in World Cup points, it may soon come time for a rest.

Perhaps this weekend. Perhaps in Shiffrin’s best event, a slalom (albeit a parallel slalom, different than the traditional, Olympic format).

Shiffrin is scheduled to start the first of two World Cup events this weekend, a super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday (4:30 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and live streaming on NBC Sports Gold).

Later Saturday, a 30-minute special on Shiffrin’s historic 2018-19 season, titled “Mikaela’s Masterpiece,” will air on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET. A trailer is here.

It’s TBD whether she will come back for Sunday’s parallel slalom (7:30 a.m., Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold). She will announce after Saturday’s race, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. It’s rare to have a speed event (downhill or super-G) and a technical event (slalom or giant slalom) at the same World Cup stop.

Parallel events can be more demanding than the usual format where skiers take two runs and combine times. In parallel, a bracket-elimination format, Shiffrin took seven runs last year (each run about half the time as a typical slalom) en route to winning in St. Moritz.

Later in the season, and again before this season, Shiffrin mentioned back soreness that is common in ski racing.

“So it’s just a little bit like what’s my body going to allow me to do as well,” she said in Cotober. “I know I’m only 24, but at the same time I sort of feel like I’m already 24 [laughs], and I feel it.”

Shiffrin, while adding more and more downhills and super-Gs, has skipped just two technical races since bursting on the World Cup scene in 2012 at age 15. Those were in city events, also bracket formats.

She passed on one in Stockholm in 2016, when she was coming back from a two-month knee-injury absence and had no chance of winning the season title in slalom. She skipped Stockholm again in late January 2018, prioritizing preparing for the PyeongChang Olympics.

In other winter sports events this weekend, the men’s Alpine World Cup heads to Val d’Isere, France, for a Saturday slalom (7 a.m., Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold) and Sunday giant slalom (6:30 a.m., Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold). Last Sunday, Tommy Ford ended the U.S. men’s longest victory and podium droughts in two decades.

In hockey, the Olympic and world champion U.S. women face Canada in an exhibition in Hartford on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Freestyle skiers and snowboarders compete at the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, Colo., on Friday (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and Saturday (2:30 p.m., NBCSN).

A full list of Olympic sports events airing this weekend can be found here.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing season TV schedule

Mikaela Shiffrin runner-up in Lake Louise downhill

Getty Images
Leave a comment

LAKE LOUISE, Alberta (AP) — Here’s a scary thought for her competition: Mikaela Shiffrin is still getting comfortable with the intensity and the speed of the downhill.

That’s why podium finishes are still a little surprising even to her.

The American three-time overall World Cup champion finished runner-up to Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria in a downhill race Saturday. Schmidhofer cruised through the course in 1 minute, 49.92 seconds to edge Shiffrin by 0.13 seconds. Francesca Marsaglia of Italy wound up third.

Schmidhofer has four career World Cup wins, with three of them arriving at Lake Louise.

Known as a tech specialist, Shiffrin is steadily getting up to speed in the speed events. This was Shiffrin’s fourth career World Cup podium finish in the downhill, which includes a Lake Louise win in 2017.

So, does Shiffrin anticipate this kind of downhill success?

“No, no, no,” the 24-year-old from Colorado said. “It’s certainly not normal (for a downhill podium). Even racing downhill doesn’t feel normal. But I feel every year like I have more experience and get more comfortable.”

Shiffrin currently sits at 62 World Cup wins, which ties her with Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell for second-most on the women’s side. Lindsey Vonn had 82 wins before her retirement.

“I’m certainly more comfortable with the long skis,” Shiffrin said of downhill racing. “Right now, it’s enjoying it, because speed is a little bit extra for me. My goal is to be able to succeed in speed as well. It’s making the transition and trying to have fun with it.”

Czech Republic skier and snowboarder Ester Ledecka finished fourth Saturday. She was the surprise winner of Friday’s season-opening downhill, which was delayed and shortened by heavy snowfall on the mountain. The race Saturday was restored to its full length.

Next up, a super-G on Sunday.

“It’s always been a little bit tricky for me from downhill skis to super-G skis and to change the timing a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “I’m going to have fun.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing season TV schedule

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nbcolympictalk’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]

Mikaela Shiffrin wins Killington slalom in rout, ties Austrian legend

1 Comment

Mikaela Shiffrin says that her biggest fan has been on her mind for every one of her ski races. When Shiffrin would get nervous, she would think of her grandmother, Pauline Condron, and remember how excited Nana was just to watch the show.

Sunday’s slalom in Killington, Vt., was no different.

Shiffrin won on American soil for the first time since Nana passed away on Oct. 22 at age 98. It came at the same venue where Nana watched Shiffrin race a World Cup in person for the first time three years ago (also a win).

“I normally am pretty good at compartmentalizing feelings and emotions,” Shiffrin said after winning the Killington slalom for the fourth straight year since it was added to the World Cup. “I didn’t want to feel like I was racing for her, but in a way I’m always racing for her because she was such a big supporter … and my biggest inspiration.”

Shiffrin’s voice cracked with emotion.

“There’s some feelings there that I’ve kind of put in a box, away, so I can focus on the racing,” she said. “At some point, I’m probably going to have to face that.”

Shiffrin raced like only she can — prevailing by 2.29 seconds over Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swede Anna Swenn Larsson was third. Full results are here.

Shiffrin won by the largest margin for a women’s slalom in more than three years. She holds the record margin of 3.07 seconds from 2015.

With every Shiffrin victory comes more career milestones, even though she’s still just 24 years old.

On Sunday, she tied Austrian Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll for fourth on the career World Cup wins list, and second among women. Only Marcel Hirscher (67), Lindsey Vonn (82) and Ingemar Stenmark (86) are ahead of her.

“The records keep going, don’t they?” Shiffrin said, laughing, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “It’s different from what Ingemar was able to do, or what Annemarie was able to do — to me, with these amazing racers, their records will last forever. It’s a different generation, with different events. But the records are also a symbol of the work that I do and the work that my team does.”

That team shifted this season.

Shiffrin’s mom and longtime primary coach, Eileen, stepped back from the latter role, in part to care for Nana. Shiffrin raced and won for the first time without her mom on site at a slalom in Levi, Finland, last week, according to The New York Times.

“She’s still playing the role of coach, she’s just doing it a little bit more from afar now,” Shiffrin, whose mom watched from the finish area in Killington on Sunday, said on NBC. “Like, we’ve been texting every single race. She’s watching and giving me pointers and little things, so we still discuss it a lot, which I love, because she’s like sort of my most trusted adviser for the longest time but she’s also been my best friend, so having her not be traveling as much this year is a little bit like splitting my heart in half.”

Shiffrin has been first or second in 21 of the last 22 World Cup slaloms, including each of the last 13 since the PyeongChang Olympics.

This season, she made the podiums of the first four races, building off her greatest campaign ever in 2018-19, when she won a record 17 World Cup races.

The World Cup continues next weekend with Shiffrin headlining the first downhills and super-G of the season in Lake Louise, Alberta. The men head to the lone U.S. stop on their tour in Beaver Creek, Colo., featuring two-time Olympic champion Ted Ligety.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE: 2019-20 Alpine skiing TV, live stream schedule

[twitter-follow screen_name=’nbcolympictalk’ show_count=’yes’ text_color=’00ccff’]