Cornelia Huetter

Mikaela Shiffrin records downhill breakthrough (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t plan to race the Olympic downhill. Maybe the plan will change.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion notched her first World Cup downhill podium in her third career World Cup downhill start in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Austrian Cornelia Huetter won, followed by Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather, .09 back. Shiffrin trailed Huetter by three tenths in third place.

Lindsey Vonn, who has won a record 18 times at Lake Louise, was en route to bumping Shiffrin off the podium (and possibly winning) when she crashed seconds before the finish line (video here).

Full results are here.

“I thought that I could be maybe, like, solidly top 10 or top five in downhill, but I wasn’t really expecting a podium,” Shiffrin said. “I think that would be really presumptuous.”

Downhill is Shiffrin’s least comfortable discipline and the opposite of her favored technical slalom. The U.S. is deep in the event, and Shiffrin has been hesitant to do more than dip her toes into the most dangerous of the Alpine disciplines.

She made her World Cup downhill debut last season in Lake Louise, finishing an impressive 13th and 18th in two races.

On Friday, Shiffrin was the 10th skier to start and crossed the finish line in the lead. She smiled and nodded emphatically. Weirather and Huetter followed with quicker times.

“I skied exactly how I thought that I could ski,” Shiffrin said. “Obviously, I have no control over the other girls, but I felt I was confident in my plan. I tried to stay in my tuck as much as I could. I tried to be soft on my edges. A couple of things that I know are fast in speed [events]. The rest will come with years [of experience].”

Shiffrin continued to show that she is a fast learner.

She made the podium in her fifth World Cup slalom start (2011) and second super combined start (winning a race last February).

Though Shiffrin memorably said in Sochi that she dreamed of winning five gold medals in 2018, that is an unreasonable expectation.

Shiffrin remains the world’s best slalom skier (though with a new rival) and ranked second in the giant slalom last season.

In five World Cup super-G starts, Shiffrin has finished in the top 10 once (a fourth place last season).

The super combined win last season came with the benefit of the first run being a super-G rather than the faster downhill that is typically used.

World Cup racing in Lake Louise continues with another downhill Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

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Andrea Fischbacher, 2010 gold medalist, left off Austrian Olympic Alpine team

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When Austria secured the maximum 22 quota spots for its Olympic Alpine team, there figured to be few surprises when its roster was announced.

Instead, there was a shocker.

Andrea Fischbacher, the Vancouver Olympic champion in the super-G, was not among the selections to the world’s strongest overall squad.

Fischbacher, 28, seemed like a lock to make it judging by her pair of Top-10 finishes at last year’s World Championships in Schladming, as well as respectable finishes in the Beaver Creek downhill (8th), as well as the two Cortina d’Ampezzo downhills (10th and 11th). Austria, is in the midst of an even stronger season this year. Her best super-G finish of the season, however, was 17th in Beaver Creek, and she skied out of the final race in Cortina on Sunday, which likely impacted her not being chosen.

Without Fischbacher, Austria will still quite the formidable unit in Sochi. Of the 22 skiers named, 16 have made at least one prior trip to the Games and four have won medals. Marcel Hirscher is a medal contender in at least three men’s events, while the women’s team boasts podium potential in Anna Fenninger, Marlies Schild and Elisabeth Goergl.

The team was dealt an unexpected blow when Hannes Reichelt, the only Austrian to win a World Cup downhill this season, was ruled out of the Games with a herniated disk in his back. Joachim Puchner has been named as his replacement..

Austria’s entire Olympic team will be made up of 130 athletes.

Benjamin Raich, a two-time gold medalist in Torino in 2006, will make his fourth Olympic appearance and has been elected to be the Austrian flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony in Sochi.

Here is a look at their roster:

Women:

Anna Fenninger – 2010 Olympian

Elisabeth Goergl – 2006-10 Olympian, 2x medalist

Nicole Hosp – 2006 Olympian

Cornelia Huetter

Michaela Kirchgasser – 2006-10 Olympian

Bernadette Schild

Marlies Schild – 2002-10 Olympian, 3x medalist

Nicole Schmidhofer – 2010 Olympian

Regina Sterz – 2010 Olympian

Kathrin Zettel – 2006-10 Olympian

Men:

Romed Baumann – 2010 Olympian

Max Franz

Reinfried Herbst – 2006 Olympian, 1x medalist

Marcel Hirscher – 2010 Olympian

Klaus Kroell – 2006-10 Olympian

Mario Matt – 2006 Olympian

Matthias Mayer

Benjamin Raich – 2002-10 Olympian, 4x medalist

Joachim Puchner

Philipp Schoerghofer – 2010 Olympian

Georg Streitberger – 2010 Olympian

Otmar Striedinger

U.S. Olympic Alpine team announced