World Cup ti­tle in hand, Shi≠rin edged in Aspen

The Washington Post Sunday - - HOCKEY - WIN­TER SPORTS ROUNDUP

Mikaela Shiffrin still can’t be­lieve an over­all World Cup ti­tle hap­pened and won’t fully buy in un­til the crys­tal globe is ac­tu­ally placed into her hands.

Part of the rea­son stems from this: She found out about lock­ing up the crown shortly af­ter wak­ing up from a nap. So, it feels a lit­tle un­real.

It’s real all right, even if Pe­tra Vl­hova of Slo­vakia stole some of the show from Shiffrin by speed­ing up near the bot­tom to take a slalom race over the Amer­i­can at World Cup Finals on Satur­day in Aspen, Colo.

Shiffrin se­cured the over­all Fri­day when Ilka Stuhec of Slove­nia de­cided to skip the slalom. Shiffrin was drowsy when her mom came into her room and de­liv­ered the news.

“It didn’t seem like a real thing, be­cause it’s odd to say I won some­thing in ski rac­ing when I wasn’t ac­tu­ally out on the hill,” said Shiffrin, who will re­ceive her tro­phy Sun­day. “It will feel more real to­mor­row, def­i­nitely, when I’m ac­tu­ally hold­ing it.”

“It’s been a goal and a dream of mine since I was 5 years old. It’s re­ally difficult to un­der­stand some­thing that fi­nally hap­pens af­ter 20 years,” she said.

The 22-year-old Shiffrin be­comes the fifth Amer­i­can ski racer to win the over­all crown, join­ing Phil Mahre (1981-83), Ta­mara McKin­ney (1983), Bode Miller (2005, 2008) and Lindsey Vonn (2008-10, 2012) . . . .

Mar­cel Hirscher of Aus­tria ral­lied to a gi­ant slalom vic­tory at the World Cup Finals.

He pow­ered through the shorter-than-usual course in a com­bined time of 1:49.79. First-run leader Felix Neureuther of Ger­many was sec­ond, 0.53 sec­onds be­hind. Mathieu Faivre of France took third.

There re­ally wasn’t much at stake in this race for Hirscher, who already had clinched the sea­son­long gi­ant slalom ti­tle along with his sixth straight over­all crown.

NORDIC COM­BINED: Eric Fren­zel took a big step to­ward an un­prece­dented fifth straight Nordic com­bined World Cup over­all ti­tle with his sec­ond suc­ces­sive vic­tory while clos­est ri­val Jo­hannes Ry­dzek fin­ished third in Schonach, Ger­many.

Olympic cham­pion Fren­zel placed sev­enth in the ski jump for a six-sec­ond ad­van­tage over Ry­dzek. But Ry­dzek, who claimed gold at the worlds last month, fell as he tried to over­take his ri­val in the 10K cross-coun­try race, deal­ing a blow to his hopes of a first over­all ti­tle.

SKI JUMP­ING: Ste­fan Kraft set a ski jump world record dur­ing a World Cup com­pe­ti­tion in Vik­er­sund, Nor­way.

Kraft jumped 253.5 me­ters while rep­re­sent­ing Aus­tria in the first round of the team com­pe­ti­tion. That beat a mark of 252 me­ters set by Nor­we­gian Robert Jo­hans­son ear­lier in the event.

Be­fore Satur­day, the record was 251.5, set by An­ders Fan­nemel of Nor­way in 2015.

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