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Defending Olympic giant slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards on Tuesday finished fifth in the final World Cup GS before next month’s Beijing Winter Olympics, dropping from third after the first run.
Sara Hector of Sweden won the race on the tricky Kronplatz course by a scant .15 seconds, leapfrogging Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the first-run leader. Tessa Worley of France was third, and Federica Brignone of Italy was fourth.
Vlhova picked up 80 points for second, and Shiffrin netted 45 for fifth, allowing Vlhova to narrow the gap in the overall World Cup chase. Vlhova, the defending overall champion, now trails Shiffrin by just just 17 points, 1,009 to 1,026.
Speed specialist Sofia Goggia of Italy is third with 769 points but sat out Tuesday’s GS after recent downhill crashes have left her injured and trying to recover in time to defend her Olympic downhill title. Sweden’s Hector is now fourth in the overall chase with 682 points after picking up 100 for the win.
Shiffrin is seeking her fourth overall World Cup title, which would tie retired racer Lindsey Vonn’s American record. Shiffrin is also seeking to set a new American record with a third alpine gold next month at the Beijing Games.
The women finish the pre-Olympic portion of the World Cup schedule with a downhill and super-G in Garmisch this weekend. Based on her quote below, it does not seem as if Shiffrin will participate in the Garmisch event.
Here’s the full press release on Tuesday’s Kronplatz GS from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team:
Mikaela Shiffrin led three Americans into the top 20 with fifth in the giant slalom on the challenging Erta slope in Kronplatz, Italy in the final FIS Ski World Cup women’s tech race prior to Beijing 2022. Nina O’Brien was back in the top 15, landing in 15th, while teammate Paula Moltzan was 17th.
Shiffrin’s Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova led the way first run, charging hard from bib 1, with Sweden’s Sara Hector in second, followed by Shiffrin in third. France’s Tessa Worley had a strong second run to move up to third, with Vlhova falling to second, and Hector continuing her dominance in the discipline, with her second-straight win and third victory of the season.
Following the race, Shiffrin reflected on her performance, “Unfortunately today’s race may have been a very big decider in the GS globe. But I suppose that “race” is not over yet so I’ll keep pushing,” she said. “Now we fully shift focus to the Olympics. It’s been quite stressful and tiring these last weeks trying to get everything prepped for the trip to Beijing, with so much more to do than previous Games in the time of Covid and different travel logistics than we’ve dealt with before, plus trying to do get it all sorted while on the road as foreigners in Europe since November. I’m looking forward to getting there safely—fingers crossed—and to finally be passed the ‘organizational & prep’ part of the process, and on to the actual skiing part of it.”
Shiffrin continues to lead in the overall standings, with 1,026 points to Vlhova’s 1,009. In the giant slalom standings, Hector extended her lead to 462 points, while Worley moved to second ahead of Shiffrin with 367, followed by Shiffrin in third with 361.
AJ Hurt also started for the Americans, but narrowly missed qualification first run. Allie Resnick, who started in her first World Cup giant slalom race, did not finish first run. The women’s tech crew will take a few days off before heading to Beijing to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
Women’s giant slalom
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST
Saturday, Jan. 29, 2022
5:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Downhill – LIVE, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER, Streaming Ski and Snowboard Live
6:30 a.m. FIS Snowboarding World Cup Snowboard Cross – LIVE, Cortina d’Ampezzo, ITA, Streaming Ski and Snowboard Live
Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022
5:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Super-G – LIVE, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER, Streaming Ski and Snowboard Live
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Broadcast and streaming schedules are updated on a daily basis throughout the season.