Teenage skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin continued her breakout season Friday in Zagreb, Croatia, when she won the slalom race at the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup by 1.19 seconds. It was the second World Cup win so far for the 17-year-old, making her the first U.S. woman to win two races before her 18th birthday.
“I was in the zone where you feel like your skiing well and you almost feel unstoppable,” said Shiffrin, who leads the World Cup slalom standings with 336 points, 26 ahead of overall points leader Tina Maze. “If you win, you always want to win by more and that just means you're always trying to ski better.”
Meanwhile, U.S. teammate Resi Stiegler placed ninth in the event. It was her first top-10 finish since tearing her ACL last season.
Lindsey Vonn, who took time off to recover from a stomach ailment, plans to return to the speed races this weekend in St. Anton, Austria.
David Chodounsky used the sixth-fastest final run to move up to an 18th-place finish at the FIS Alpine World Cup slalom Sunday in Zagreb.
Over in Schonach, Germany, the United States reached the podium in an FIS Nordic Combined World Cup team event for the first time Saturday. Brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher joined Todd Lodwick and Billy Demong for a bronze medal in the 4x5k relay Saturday.
Taylor Fletcher’s 12:39.4 was the fastest leg of the day while Demong had the best time among anchor skiers.
“It feels very good to get this result,” Taylor Fletcher said. “Our team had the proper expectations going into the event and was ready to compete.”
Bryan Fletcher was 11th in the individual competition Sunday.
Sarah Hendrickson was the highest-placed American, rallying from an 11th-place showing Saturday to finish fifth on Sunday at the women’s ski jumping World Cup in Schonach-Schoenwald, Germany. She is now fifth in the overall standings with 321 points, 169 out of first place.
Emily Cook and Dylan Ferguson finished fifth in the aerials opener at the FIS World Cup Freestyle in Changhun, China.
Cross Country Skiing:
Olympians Kikkan Randall and Liz Stephen placed 12th and 15th when the seven-stage Tour de Ski event came to a close Sunday in Val Di Fiemme, Italy.
Erik Bjornsen and Sadie Bjornsen each earned a gold and two silver medals at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah. The event concluded Sunday with Torin Koos winning the men’s 30k classic.
John Gibson continued the U.S. tradition of outstanding goaltending performances in the IIHF World Junior Championship, helping the United States to its second championship and third medal performance in the last four years.
Forward Rocco Grimaldi scored two goals to earn honors as U.S. Player of the Game and Gibson was named tournament’s most valuable player after the United States defeated Sweden, 3-1, in the championship game Saturday in Ufa, Russia.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our players and staff,” U.S. coach Phil Housley, a member of the 2002 U.S. Olympic silver-medal hockey team, said. “This was a total team effort throughout the tournament.”
Sweden scored first on a power play 1:09 into the second period. Grimaldi scored the next two goals. Gibson had 26 saves when Vince Trocheck scored into an empty net with 16 seconds left to secure the U.S. victory.
Gibson had a 1.36 goals-against average and .955 save percentage for the tournament. He followed Alan Perry (1984), Mike Dunham (1992), Rick DiPietro (2000), Al Montoya (2004) and Jack Campbell (2011) in winning best goaltender of the tournament honors for the United States.
Jacob Trouba, Johnny Gaudreau and team captain Jake McCabe joined Gibson on the all-tournament team that was selected by the media. Trouba was named top defenseman and led defensemen in scoring with nine points. Gaudreau had a tournament-high seven goals.
Read more about TeamUSA’s run to the gold medal here.
Meanwhile, at the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship final Saturday in Finland, the United States fell to Canada, 2-1, in overtime. The U.S. women advanced to the final by outscoring opponents, 35-0, but they could not get past their archrival, Canada in the gold-medal game.
Defenseman Jenny Ryan scored in the first period when the United States outshot Canada, 20-1. Goaltender Sidney Peters finished with 23 saves in the loss.
At the men’s World Under-17 Hockey Challenge Friday in Quebec, Austin Poganski had a hat trick as the United States edged Team Quebec, 4-3, to take third place overall.
Katie Compton assured herself of the overall 2012-13 UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup title with a second-place finish Sunday in Rome.
Compton will take a 390-254 points lead over Great Britain’s Nikki Harris into the final round Jan. 20 in the Netherlands. Compton won four times and finished second two other times this season. Amy Dombroski finished 16th.
Logan Owen finished fourth in the junior men’s race and goes into the final race in second in the overall standings.
The United States finished fifth in the team relay Sunday in at the World Cup event in Konigssee, Germany.
Julia Clukey helped the team with the third-best women’s singles effort. Taylor Morris handled the men’s singles portion before Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk competed in doubles.
Clukey, a 2010 Olympian, finished sixth in women’s singles Saturday. Erin Hamlin, a two-time Olympian and 2009 world champion, was 10th. Chris Mazdzer had the best U.S. finish in men’s singles in 22nd.
Hyrns and Sherk had a career-best, 11th-place finish in doubles Saturday.
The United States finished fifth in the relay Friday at the IBU World Cup event in Oberhof, Germany.
Lowell Bailey, Tim Burke, Russell Currier and Leif Nordgren formed the relay team.
The World Cup continued through the weekend in fog and rain. Sara Studebaker led the U.S. women Saturday with a 29th-place finish in the 7.5k Sprint. Burke was 26th in the 10k Sprint Saturday and 30th in the Pursuit Sunday. He is 11th in the overall World Cup standings.
BOBSLED/SKELETON: Brad Stewart made his World Cup skeleton debut with a 19th-place finish to lead the U.S. men Saturday in Altenberg, Germany. The United States did not enter a bobsled team this week, instead concentrating on training. Elsewhere, Mike Dellemann was seventh and Annie O’Shea 10th at the International Cup skeleton competition in Igls, Austria.
FENCING: Gracie Stone won gold in her second Junior World Cup event with a saber victory Friday in Udine, Italy. Michael Woo earned a bronze medal in foil, also in Udine. Isabel Ford was seventh in the Junior World Cup épee event in Dijon, France.
CURLING: Team Craig Brown, Team Greg Persinger, Team Ryan Lemke, Team Brady Clark, Team Todd Birr and Team Mike Farbelow used the USA Curling Men’s Challenge Round in Hibbing, Minn., Thursday through Sunday to qualify for the February USA Curling National Championships in Green Bay, Wis., where they will join Team Heath McCormick, Team Pete Fenson, Team John Shuster and Team Tyler George.
FIELD HOCKEY: The United States won the title at the RohrMax Cup over indoor women’s teams from Switzerland, the Czech Republic and host Austria.
BOWLING: John Szczerbinski and Diandra Asbaty have the leads going into Monday, the final day of the Team USA Trials in Henderson, Nev. The top three men and three women will automatically make the national team.
Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org. Material from various news services and press releases from National Governing Bodies was used to compile this report. This story was not subject to the approval of any National Governing Bodies.