alpine skiing

Mikaela Shiffrin
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Mikaela Shiffrin returns with mantra, stuck to her helmet, to carry forever

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Look close at Mikaela Shiffrin as she steps into a race start gate for the first time in eight months on Oct. 17.

Shiffrin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Cup overall champion, plans to wear a helmet with two special stickers on the back.

She’s donned the first decal for years — the initials ABFTTB, which stand for “Always Be Faster Than The Boys,” a personalized autograph motto from retired Olympic Alpine skier Heidi Voelker.

The new sticker reads, Be nice. Think first. Have fun.

Those lines came from Shiffrin’s father, Jeff — the mantra instilled in her and older brother Taylor, also a young ski racer at the time.

After Jeff died on Feb. 2, Shiffrin regularly remembered the question that Jeff posed years ago: “What are the golden rules?”

Be nice. Think first.

When the Shiffrin siblings were old enough, Jeff added the third rule.

“He felt like we could understand that having fun wasn’t just about going and doing whatever you want because it’s instantly gratifying,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports’ Alex Azzi in an On Her Turf interview. “Fun is doing something well and the satisfaction you get from sticking to something.”

She plans to race all season with the golden rules sticker on her helmet, right next to ABFTTB.

Shiffrin detailed more about her prep for a very different World Cup campaign, in conjunction with a new fund in honor of her late father, in this On Her Turf report.

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Viktoria Rebensburg, Olympic giant slalom champion, retires

Viktoria Rebensburg
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Viktoria Rebensburg, the 2010 Olympic giant slalom champion from Germany, announced her retirement from Alpine skiing on Tuesday.

“Today is certainly not an easy day for me, as I have decided to end my career with immediate effect after 13 years,” was posted on her social media. “I made this decision with a heavy heart & after much consideration over the last few weeks.”

Rebensburg, a 30-year-old with 19 World Cup wins, said that, after an unspecified injury in the spring and two months of on-snow training, she wouldn’t be able to reach her absolute top level.

“From a very young age, it has always been my ambition & incentive to compete for success & to inspire you on the slopes,” she posted. “But now that I have the feeling that I can no longer live up to this, this is a very difficult but inevitable decision for me.”

Rebensburg suffered a fracture in one of her tibias on Feb. 9 in a World Cup super-G in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, about 40 miles west of her hometown in the Bavarian Alps. The day before she won a World Cup downhill.

Rebensburg is the last 2010 Olympic women’s Alpine medalist to retire. Mikaela Shiffrin, who developed into a rival to Rebensburg in the GS, is the lone Olympic women’s champion from 2010 or 2014 still active.

Rebensburg won the Vancouver Olympic GS by .04 after Lindsey Vonn crashed out, Julia Mancuso was forced to take a re-run and a weather delay pushed the second run to the following day. Rebensburg notched her first World Cup podium two weeks before those Winter Games.

She also won world championships GS silver medals in 2015 and 2019 and three World Cup season titles in the discipline. Her best World Cup overall finish was third in 2016 and 2018.

MORE: North American races dropped from 2020 Alpine World Cup schedule

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North American races dropped from 2020-21 alpine World Cup schedule

North American alpine skiing stops cancelled
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It was announced this morning that, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020-21 alpine skiing World Cup season will be skipping its traditional stops in North America.

The decision was agreed upon jointly by the sport’s international federation (FIS), the national ski associations, and the local organizing committees in both the United States and Canada. According to a joint statement, “The objective of FIS is to carry out a full World Cup competition program, protecting the health and welfare of all participants to the best extent possible. The temporary realignment of the FIS Alpine World Cup Calendar in 2020-21 caters to this goal by focusing on athlete safety, reducing travel, and providing competitors with a detailed competition calendar.”

Both the men’s and women’s circuits had been scheduled to come through the U.S. and Canada at the end of November, with women’s races scheduled in Killington, Vermont, and Lake Louise, Alberta, and men’s races slated for Beaver Creek, Colorado, as well as Lake Louise. Instead, these races will be replaced by additional events in Europe. It is expected that the women’s calendar will add a downhill race to the stop already scheduled for St. Moritz, Switzerland and two technical races to the program in Courchevel, France. The men’s events in Val d’Isere, France, will be expanded to include a downhill and super-G.

The revised World Cup calendar will be approved following the FIS Technical Meetings, which are scheduled from September 30 through October 2.

It is expected that the stops in Killington, Lake Louise, and Beaver Creek will be added back to the World Cup schedule for the 2021-22 season.

The 2020-21 alpine skiing World Cup season is scheduled to get underway on October 17-18 for the traditional giant slalom races on Rettenbach Glacier in Soelden, Austria.

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