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Editor’s note: Shiffrin was first in downhill training on Tuesday, a full 1.44 seconds ahead of Vlhova in ninth, and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team on Tuesday confirmed she will race in Wednesday’s downhill. Olympic silver medalist Ryan Cochran-Siegle also was first in downhill training on Tuesday.
If she races in the downhill at the World Cup Finals in Courchevel, France, on Wednesday, Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards looks to be in solid speed-event form as she tries to secure her American record-tying fourth overall World Cup title.
Shiffrin finished third in downhill training on Monday, just .40 seconds behind Romane Miradoli of France and just .03 seconds behind Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland.
Shiffrin’s closest pursuer in the overall hunt, defending overall champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, was a distant 23rd in downhill training, more than two seconds behind Shiffrin, who holds a 56-point edge over Vlhova in the overall chase.
The athletes in the top 25 in each discipline based on points qualify for the World Cup Finals, and both Shiffrin and Vlhova are not in the top 25 in downhill, which for the women will be contested on Wednesday, followed by the super-G on Thursday, the slalom on Saturday and the giant slalom on Sunday.
“Mikaela is not in the top 25 and does not qualify for downhill, but there is a rule that allows all athletes with 500-plus points in the overall standings to be able to compete in whatever events they choose to compete in, hence why Petra will likely ski in both super-G and downhill … and Mikaela will ski in downhill (if she chooses),” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team spokesperson Megan Harrod explained in an email.
Shiffrin skipped a pair of downhills late last month in Crans Montana, Switzerland, to rest and recover after skiing in six events at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. Vlhova competed in the Crans Montana races and edged 17 points closer to Shiffrin in the hunt for the overall.
Shiffrin would tie former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn for the American record of four overall titles, which would still be two behind the all-time women’s record of six overall titles held by Austria’s Annemarie Proell.
The speed events of downhill and super-G will take place in Courchevel, while the tech events of slalom and GS will take place in Meribel this week.
For the U.S. men, Bryce Bennett (downhill), Ryan Cochran Siegle (downhill, super-G), Travis Ganong (downhill, super-G), River Radamus, also of Edwards, (giant slalom), and Luke Winters (slalom) have qualified.
For the women, Shiffrin (super-G, giant slalom, slalom) and Paula Moltzan (giant slalom, slalom) have qualified and will represent the U.S. Breezy Johnson also qualified in both super-G and downhill, but is injured.
The full schedule of this week’s World Cup Finals can be found here.