Flachau

Mikaela Shiffrin wins 5th straight World Cup, longest streak in 20 years

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More history for Mikaela Shiffrin, one of the world’s most dominant athletes in any sport.

She became the first Alpine skier to win five straight World Cup races in 20 years on Tuesday, coming from behind at a night slalom in Flachau, Austria.

Shiffrin won for the eighth time in nine races overall, prevailing by .94 of a second combining times from two runs over Austrian Bernadette Schild.

Schild led Shiffrin by .37 after the first run, when Shiffrin said her timing was off. Shiffrin’s coach, Mike Day, set the course for the second run.

“This was the first time [this season] that I was coming from behind in the first run, and I had to make a statement,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “That was really important for me, a really big checkmark on the way to the Olympics because when we are there, anything can happen, and I want to be mentally prepared for all those possibilities.”

Two of Shiffrin’s closest slalom rivals — Slovak Petra Vlhova and Swiss Wendy Holdener — skied out in the first run.

Full results are here.

Shiffrin became the first man or woman to win five straight World Cup races since German Katja Seizinger in 1997.

She also tied Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell‘s record for most World Cup wins before turning 23, grabbing her 41st career victory and 10th this season.

Lindsey Vonn, the female record holder with 78 victories, had seven at this age.

Shiffrin is favored to win three gold medals in PyeongChang (slalom, giant slalom, super combined), which would match the record for an Alpine skier at one Olympics.

All of Shiffrin’s eight wins in this nine-race span have been in slalom (or some variation) and giant slalom.

The Coloradoan grabbed gold in Sochi as the youngest Olympic slalom champion ever. She since matured into the world’s best all-around skier, taking last year’s World Cup overall title and running away in this year’s standings.

The women’s World Cup continues with a downhill and super-G in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, on Saturday and Sunday, live on Olympic Channel.

Vonn will headline those races, which Shiffrin is expected to skip.

Shiffrin picks and chooses speed events where she feels comfortable. She is expected to race the following weekend’s downhill and super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

Also Tuesday, Resi Stiegler became the third U.S. female Alpine skier to qualify for PyeongChang, joining Shiffrin and Megan McJames.

Stiegler, 32, has a best finish of 11th from two previous Olympics.

She has a best finish this season of 14th and last made a World Cup podium in 2012, but qualified for the Olympics as the second-best U.S. slalom skier behind Shiffrin this season.

Vonn and other speed racers can qualify the next two weekends.

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Watch Mikaela Shiffrin try to extend historic streak Tuesday afternoon

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Mikaela Shiffrin goes for her fifth straight World Cup win — the longest streak in 20 years — live on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and streaming on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app on Tuesday afternoon.

It’s a rare opportunity to watch Shiffrin race live during daytime hours across the U.S.

The slalom runs in Flachau, Austria, are at 12 p.m. ET (streaming) and 2:30 p.m. (Olympic Channel and streaming here for subscribers). NBCSN will air coverage at 6 p.m.

What better time to tune in than one month before the Olympics with Shiffrin on the hottest streak of her career.

The 22-year-old won seven of the last eight World Cups and is heavily favored under the lights in her patented discipline Tuesday.

The last Alpine skier to win five straight races on the World Cup calendar was German Katja Seizinger in 1997.

Shiffrin’s dominance the last three weeks has been historic. Three slalom wins, two more in parallel slaloms and another pair in giant slalom.

Four of the five non-parallel wins have been by the following time margins: .89, .99, 1.59 and 1.64 seconds.

“All of us want to ski faster than her, but she is on another level,” Swedish slalom rival Frida Hansdotter said after Shiffrin’s 40th World Cup win on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.

Shiffrin has nine wins in 16 starts this season. She became the third Alpine skier to reach 40 World Cup victories before the age of 23 (she’s 22 until March 13).

The Coloradoan can tie the record of 41 wins before the age of 23 held by Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell on Tuesday. Lindsey Vonn, the female record holder with 78 victories, had seven at this age.

All of this success made Shiffrin a favorite for three gold medals in PyeongChang, which would tie the record for Alpine golds at one Olympics.

Shiffrin is the world’s best slalom and giant slalom skier and the one to beat in super combined, given she also won a downhill in December.

She’s also leading the World Cup overall standings with 1,281 points. The second-place skier, Swiss Wendy Holdener, has 560 points.

There is talk that Shiffrin could break Slovenian Tina Maze‘s record of 2,414 points in one season, but that will have to wait until the World Cup campaign concludes after an Olympic break.

Shiffrin plans to skip four of the six remaining speed races this month to rest up for PyeongChang.

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Mikaela Shiffrin beaten after slow first run in night slalom

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Mikaela Shiffrin couldn’t overcome a slow (by her standards) first run and tied for third in a World Cup slalom in Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday night.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion was .78 of a second shy of Swedish winner Frida Hansdotter after two runs. Shiffrin won five of the first six World Cup slaloms this season going into Tuesday.

Shiffrin was in fifth place after the first run in Flachau, 1.38 seconds behind Hansdotter, then had the fastest second run by one tenth.

“I just didn’t ski fast enough,” Shiffrin said after her first run. “And that’s pretty much it.”

RACE RESULTS | RUN 2 REPLAY

Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso could race for the first time this season at the next World Cup stop in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, this weekend, starting with a downhill training run Thursday.

Vonn, coming back from a broken arm suffered in a Nov. 11 training crash, last raced Feb. 28. Mancuso, who had November 2015 hip surgery, last raced March 7, 2015.

NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will live stream racing Saturday (downhill) and Sunday (super combined) mornings. Shiffrin said she definitely won’t be racing the downhill but may do the super combined, which is one super-G run and one slalom run.

On Tuesday, Shiffrin moved 365 points ahead in the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport, through 19 of a scheduled 37 races.

That lead, which is comfortable now, will be cut into significantly before February’s world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and leading into the season-ending World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in March.

That’s because the early season was weighed heavily with Shiffrin’s best events — slalom and giant slalom. Speed races of downhill and super-G make up the majority of the remaining schedule.

Defending World Cup overall champion Lara Gut is stronger in speed events and is the main threat to Shiffrin’s lead over the next two months. The Swiss Gut is in second place in the standings but arguably still the favorite for the overall title.

“One of my big goals that I want to accomplish is the overall,” Shiffrin, who could become the third U.S. woman to take the biggest annual prize in ski racing (Tamara McKinney, Vonn), said after her previous race Sunday, a slalom victory. “And I don’t know if it happens this year, but eventually that will be a big goal. … Right now, my focus is more world championships, but, eventually it will be more overall, probably.”

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