Dec 21, 2012, 12:32 PM EST
Ever heard of Mikaela Shiffrin?
If you don’t closely follow Alpine ski racing, your answer is probably a no. But now is the time to start reading up on this 17-year-old Alpine skiing phenom.
At 17 years, 9 months and 7 days, Shiffrin became the third youngest American to ever win an Alpine World Cup race on Thursday after claiming victory in a slalom race in Are, Sweden.
Shiffrin is from Vail, Colo., and attends Burke Mountain Academy, a private school in East Burke, Vt. that teaches both academics and ski racing. Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in March 2011. Later that year she raced in another World Cup event and finished eighth in the slalom. A year ago, Shiffrin placed third in a slalom race at Lienz, Austria. Last March, she won the slalom at the U.S. National Championships – after doing the same at the 2011 Nationals.
So yeah, it’s probably time to start paying attention to this talented teenager.
When asked about her victory, Shiffrin had this to say (courtesy of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association): “I was just trying to fly. I couldn’t imagine what winning [a World Cup race] would feel like. I only knew the feeling of knowing you’ve skied your best.”
Let’s think about this for a minute. Lindsey Vonn has the speed events covered for the U.S. women, the downhill and the super-G. You can throw Julia Mancuso into that mix as well. Mancuso and Shiffrin are solid in the giant slalom. In the slalom there’s really only one American we need to know about: Shiffrin. Her victory yesterday catapulted her to the top of the World Cup slalom standings.
So will we see Shiffrin on more podiums in the near future? And what about the Sochi Olympics, which are just over a year away?
“I met Mikaela last summer and she is indeed a great kid with a wonderful ski future in front of her,” said Kiki Cutter, the youngest American to win a World Cup race (slalom in 1968 at 16 years, 7 months, 1 day). “I am sure that we are going to see many more victories from Mikaela.”
Cutler was also the first American in history to win a World Cup race, so you can’t get much more of an expert opinion than hers. And if she’s right, Mikaela, we’ll see you on the slopes in Sochi.
Dec 20, 2013, 8:51 AM EST
The setting won’t be the only story when Beijing’s Bird’s Nest hosts an aerials skiing World Cup this weekend. American Ashley Caldwell will set up some 200 feet above the ground of the stadium that hosted the epic 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony on Saturday. She will set up parallel to its polymer membrane, glide down a hill…
Dec 20, 2013, 8:34 AM EST
Bode Miller posted the best super-G result of his comeback Friday, while Aksel Lund Svindal won his third race of the season and for the third time in Val Gardena, Italy. Svindal, the reigning Olympic and World Cup super-G champion, consolidated his pre-race favorite status by winning in 1 minute, 35.82 seconds in the Dolomites. It marked the…
Dec 20, 2013, 7:55 AM EST
Due to lack of snow, the third of five Olympic selection events in ski and snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle was moved from Northstar, Calif., to Breckenridge, Colo., on Thursday. Breckenridge, which hosted last week’s first selection event, will now host the Jan. 8-12 stop, too. “While the snow conditions are great at Northstar and the…
Dec 19, 2013, 5:08 PM EST
Amanda Kessel, the reigning NCAA Player of the Year and World Championships-winning goal scorer, has not played a minute for the U.S. Women’s National Team against international opponents this fall. Don’t be worried, U.S. coach Katey Stone said. Kessel, 22, has been dealing with a lower-body injury but will “absolutely” (Stone’s word) be ready for the Sochi…
Dec 19, 2013, 3:29 PM EST
Lindsey Vonn‘s focus is on the Olympics, but her mind is also peeking ahead at one of the most hallowed records in ski racing. The Olympic downhill champion believes the all-time record for World Cup wins is attainable. Vonn, 29, has 59 career wins. She is second all-time among women behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell, who had…
Dec 19, 2013, 3:19 PM EST
NBCUniversal will present at least 1,539 hours of coverage of the Sochi Olympics, including men’s and women’s hockey finals live on NBC. The hours, spread across five TV networks and NBCOlympics.com, mark the most ever for a Winter Olympics and more than the previous two Winter Games combined. More details are available here. NBC will…
Dec 19, 2013, 2:28 PM EST
It looked like the U.S. was in trouble when the preliminary Duel in the Pool teams came out in October, but roster changes may have shifted the balance of power in the Ryder Cup-like meet. The U.S. team is led by Katie Ledecky, 16, who won four World Championships this summer with two world records, and…
Dec 19, 2013, 1:03 PM EST
Olympic figure skating champion Brian Boitano came out in a statement Thursday, two days after being named as part of a White House delegation to the Sochi Olympics that includes two other openly gay athletes. “Being gay is just one part of who I am,” Boitano said in a statement from his publicist. Boitano, 50, won the…
Dec 19, 2013, 12:13 PM EST
The 2014 U.S. Olympic Team is expected to be its largest in Winter Games history with more than 200 athletes. This list of athletes nominated to the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team will be updated as national governing bodies announce their teams: Biathlon Lowell Bailey — @lowellcbailey Tim Burke — @tb_burke Leif Nordgren — @lcnordgren Annelies Cook…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:35 AM EST
US Biathlon announced first-time Olympians Leif Nordgren and Annelies Cook as the fourth and fifth members of its Olympic Team on Thursday. Nordgren, 24, joins three-time U.S. Olympians Tim Burke and Lowell Bailey in going to Sochi. Burke and Bailey were nominated to the U.S. Olympic Team in November. US Biathlon is expected to announced up to two more men to join them in…
Dec 19, 2013, 10:07 AM EST
Tonga is going to the Sochi Olympics. Luger Bruno Banani has officially qualified for the Games now that the final World Cup event of the Olympic qualification season has passed, according to the Telegraph. Banani, 26, is ranked No. 44 in this season’s overall standings. Banani gained a bit of infamy in January-February 2012, when the story…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:47 AM EST
Caitlin Cahow, one of two openly gay athletes part of the White House’s delegation to the Sochi Olympics, said she’s proud to be representing American diversity in Russia. “I think that the president’s been very open about his feelings about Russian policies,” Cahow said on TODAY on Thursday morning. “I think he’s been very open…
Dec 19, 2013, 9:30 AM EST
Lindsey Vonn was in podium form in her second downhill training run in Val d’Isere, France, on Thursday. The Olympic downhill champion was the second fastest woman, .04 behind Swiss Dominique Gisin. Vonn, 29, was 12th in the first training run Wednesday. There is one more day of training Friday before Saturday’s official downhill race. “I’m happy…
Dec 18, 2013, 5:43 PM EST
The U.S. Olympic Teams for halfpipe and slopestyle snowboarding and skiing will be determined by five selection events in December and January. Those selection events are as follows: Breckenridge, Colo. — Dec. 12-15 Copper Mountain, Colo. — Dec. 16-22 Northstar, Calif. — Jan. 6-12 (12/19 update: Halfpipe athletes were told the Northstar stop will be…
Dec 18, 2013, 1:52 PM EST
2010 Olympic skeleton champion Jon Montgomery plans to retire after this season now that he’s unlikely to make the Canadian Olympic Team, according to CBC. Canada named a two-man Olympic skeleton team Wednesday. It did not include Montgomery, unsurprisingly, as he did not qualify for Canada’s World Cup team this season. There is still a chance Canada…
Dec 18, 2013, 11:39 AM EST
“The Voice” Season 5 finale had an Olympic presence on Tuesday night. The Season 4 winner, Danielle Bradbery, performed “My Day” to a video of clips of Sochi Olympic hopefuls and 2010 Olympic highlights. Also in attendance were U.S. Olympic hopeful figure skaters Adam Rippon and Ashley Wagner and bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator. The winner delighted Usain Bolt. The world’s fastest man appeared…
Dec 18, 2013, 10:55 AM EST
Gabby Douglas paid a surprise visit to Lola, a 14-year-old competitive gymnast who is legally blind, on an episode of “The Doctors” this week. Lola is, of course, an inspiration herself. But before Douglas came on the set, Lola said the Olympic all-around champion was her role model. Douglas’ childhood included leaving her family in Virginia at…
Dec 18, 2013, 10:26 AM EST
It appears Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards won’t be jumping on New Year’s Day at age 50 after all. He could jump before that, though. The International Ski Federation (FIS) denied the Brit’s bid to be a fore jumper at the Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, leg of the prestigious Four Hills Tournament on New Year’s Day. FIS said it hasn’t…
Dec 18, 2013, 9:35 AM EST
A candidate to light the Sochi Olympic cauldron has one man in mind to carry another Russian honor at the Opening Ceremony. Vladislav Tretiak, the legendary, three-time Olympic champion Soviet goalie, said current Russian hockey star forward Ilya Kovalchuk should be the Russian flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony. “When people have come up to me and asked…
Dec 18, 2013, 9:06 AM EST
If Lindsey Vonn‘s goal is to make a World Cup podium before the Sochi Olympics, she’ll have to improve one second after her training run Wednesday to do it in Val d’Isere, France. The Olympic downhill champion placed 12th in the first training run for Saturday’s race. Vonn completed the course in 1 minute, 50.53…
- Ashley Caldwell flies into Bird’s Nest after two years away 0
- Bode Miller improves as Aksel Lund Svindal wins Val Gardena super-G 0
- Brian Boitano announces he’s gay after being named to Sochi delegation 19
- Lindsey Vonn faster in second Val d’Isere training run 2
- Openly gay athletes part of White House delegation to Sochi Olympics 6
- Russian women kissing after relay victory at World Championships causes stir (54)
- IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics (45)
- Zola Budd, 47, dominates college runners in 5K (29)
- Brian Boitano announces he’s gay after being named to Sochi delegation (20)
- Vladimir Putin tells critics of Russia at World University Games to ‘try some Viagra’ (19)