Headline results of noteworthy competitions around the world:
● ALPINE SKIING ● The amazing Mikaela Shiffrin moved to no. 4 on the all-time World Cup wins list with a pair of victories in the FIS Alpine World Cup in Linz, Austria.
On Saturday, she won both runs of the Giant Slalom, 11 days after she finished 17th in the Giant Slalom at Courchevel (FRA). “It sounds a little bit stupid, actually, to say the last week was a tough time because I still have already an amazing season,” she said afterwards. “One bad race, it’s stupid, really. It’s just ski racing. But I care.”
On Sunday, she won both runs in the Slalom to sweep the weekend and claim her 64th career World Cup victory and 43rd in the Slalom. That moves her to no. 4 all-time in World Cup history and no. 2 among women, behind Ingemar Stenmark (SWE: 86), Lindsey Vonn (USA: 80) and Marcel Hirscher (AUT: 67). Full results here.
She now has 43 career World Cup Slalom wins, tying Vonn (43 in Downhill) for the most wins in a single discipline by women. Stenmark has the all-time mark with 46 Giant Slalom wins.
Still just 24, Shiffrin’s triumphs gave her four on the season, with 12 of 39 races completed. The schedule has been thinner than in past season and the four wins in November and December are her fewest since 2016. There are six more Slaloms, five more Giant Slaloms and two more Parallel Slalom races still remaining in the season, in which she will be a definite contender for more wins.
She continues to extend her lead in the overall World Cup and now has a 746-451-413 lead over Federica Brignone (ITA) and Petra Vlhova (SLO) heading into 2020. Amazing.
The men were in Bormio, Italy for three races, including a re-scheduled Downhill from Val Gardena. All to the good for home favorite Dominik Paris, who won both Downhills on Friday and Saturday, beating Swiss Beat Feuz and Urs Kryennuhl on consecutive days. France’s Alexis Pinturault won the first Alpine Combined of the season on Sunday, ahead of Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who won his second World Cup medal this season. Full results here.
But, surprise, it’s Kilde who ends 2019 on top of the World Cup standings, with 474 points, just ahead of Paris (454) and Pinturault (401). That’s after just 14 of the 44 races scheduled this season.
The skiing resumes in Zagreb (CRO) with Slaloms for women on Saturday (4th) and for men on Sunday (5th).
● CROSS COUNTRY ● The 14th annual Tour de Ski is underway in Switzerland and on the way to Italy, with familiar faces on the top of the podium.
In Lenzerheide (SUI), Russia’s Sergey Ustinov won the 15 km Freestyle Mass Start race on Saturday over series leader Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) and Russian Alexander Bolshunov. The Sunday Sprint was another win for Klaebo, his third in the four Sprints held this season, finishing ahead of Federico Pellegrino (ITA).
The women’s 10 km Mass Start was won, of course, by Norway’s Therese Johaug, who stayed perfect this season with her fifth win in the five distance races. She beat teammate Heidi Weng and Sweden’s Ebba Andersson.
Sunday’s Freestyle Sprint went to Slovenia’s Anamarija Lampic, her second career World Cup gold (and first in three seasons). She finished ahead of Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla, who claimed her third Sprint medal in four races on the season. Full results from Lenzerheide here.
In the overall World Cup standings, Klaebo leads the men’s table with 616 points, with teammate Emil Iversen (495) and Bolsuhov (459) still in striking distance. Johaug has the women’s lead at 599 points, trailed by Weng (495) and American Jessica Diggins (387).
● SKI JUMPING ● The 68th edition of the Four Hills Tournament, one of the biggest annual prizes in the sport, got underway in Obertsdorf (GER) with jumping off the 137 m hill.
Once again, it was Ryoyu Kobayashi, the defending Four Hills champ and reigning World Cup champ, who won over Karl Geiger (GER) and Dawid Kubacki (POL), 305.1-295.9-294.7. Kobayashi has now won two straight event and three of his last four, plus his fifth straight win in the Four Hills. Full results here.
● SPEED SKATING ● World Champion Brittany Bowe won yet another U.S. National title in the women’s 1,000 m, but the big stars of the 2019 USA Speedskating National Championships were Joey Mantia, Kimi Goetz and Mia Kilburg-Manganello.
Mantia, himself a two-time World Champion in the Mass Start, won the 1,000 m and 1,500 m titles at the Utah Olympic Oval and was one of two men to win two events. Emery Lehman swept the 5,000 m and 10,000 distance. Kimani Griffin won the 500 m over Brett Perry and then finished second to Mantia in the 1,000 m.
Among the women, Goetz won the 500 m and 1,000 m, ahead of Erin Jackson and Brianna Bocox in the shorter distance, with Bocox second in the 1,000 m.
The workhorse of the women’s racing was Mia Kilburg-Manganello, who won the 3,000 m and 5,000 m, finished second in the 1,500 m and took the bronze in the 1,000 m.
The Nationals was the U.S. qualifier for the ISU World Single Distance Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval next February. Those qualified:
● Joey Mantia (1,000 m/1,500 m/Mass Start)
● Emery Lehman (1,500 m)
● Ian Quinn (Mass Start)
● Brittany Bowe (500 m/1,000 m/1,500 m)
● Kimi Goetz (500 m/1,000 m)
● Brianna Bocox (500 m)
● Erin Jackson (500 m)
● Mia Kilburg (3,000 m/5,000 m/Mass Start)
● Paige Schwartzburg (Mass Start)
Full results here.
● THIS WEEK ● Not much of a New Year’s break in Cross Country and Ski Jumping, which have two prestigious tournaments ongoing.
In the 14th Tour de Ski, the action moves to Tolbach (ITA) and Val di Fiemme from Tuesday through next Sunday. The men will have a Sprint, two Mass Starts, and a Pursuit for men, and two Sprints, two Mass Start races and a 10 km Freestyle for women
In the Four Hills Tournament, the jumping continues in Obertsdorf on Monday, then moves to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (GER) on New Year’s, Innsbruck (AUT) on Saturday and Bischofshofen a week from Monday.
Our predictions for the top stories of 2020 are coming on Thursday! Happy New Year!