Winter roundup: Mikaela Shiffrin can clinch slalom title

American Mikaela Shiffrin celebrated after winning an alpine ski women's World Cup slalom race earlier this year in Bormio, Italy.
Marco Trovati/Associated Press/File
American Mikaela Shiffrin celebrated after winning an alpine ski women's World Cup slalom race earlier this year in Bormio, Italy.

Fog prevented downhill racers from getting their Olympic dress rehearsal on Saturday, but American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin can still retain her World Cup slalom title Sunday and become the only skier to secure a crystal globe before the Sochi Olympics.

Poor visibility on the middle section of the course forced World Cup officials to call off a men’s downhill on Saturday in St. Mortiz, Switzerland, the last speed race before the Sochi Olympics. A women’s giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, was also canceled because of poor weather.

Shiffrin can defend her title by extending her 144-point lead in the standings to more than 200 points. A win Sunday would give her 100 points, then she'd have to hope her closest rivals do not make the podium.

Winning the discipline title with two slaloms in March to spare would make for a huge contrast to last season, when Shiffrin had to make up 1.17 seconds on overall champion Tina Maze in the final run of the last event to snatch it.

This season, Shiffrin has been dominating the slalom circuit by winning three of the five races so far. Four-time champion Marlies Schild of Austria won the other two.

Going into the race, Shiffrin has 402 points, Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter has 258, Schild 245, and Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon 206.

Wrapping up a second World Cup slalom title six weeks before the end of the season would also cement her status as the Olympic gold favorite, though carrying the weight of expectations doesn’t seem to bother her.

‘‘I am not really feeling pressure in a negative way. I am using it as fuel for the fire,’’ Shiffrin said.

The start of the Saturday’s races was postponed several times and pushed back more than two hours before officials finally gave up.

‘‘It was the right decision,’’ men’s overall and downhill World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway said.

A giant slalom is scheduled for Sunday in St. Moritz, where too much snow and fog was the problem.

Heavy snowfall forced the cancellation of downhill training on Friday. It still snowed Saturday, although not that heavily, but fog descended on the course to force another cancellation.

‘‘You want to win a World Cup race, you are not thinking of Sochi. It’s exciting to win a World Cup race,’’ Svindal said.

Snowboarding — In Sudelfeld, Germany, Justin Reiter ended a six-year podium drought for America in parallel giant slalom events, holding off Switzerland’s Kaspar Fluetsch in the small final.

Second-place finisher Lukas Mathies clinched both the parallel giant slalom and Alpine snowboarding World Cup titles, something Patrizia Kummer also did in the women’s events.

Cross-country — Dario Cologna returned to the World Cup circuit for the first time since having ankle surgery in November, but the Swiss skier narrowly lost to Russia’s Alexander Legkov in the 15K Classic in Toblach, Italy.


  Cologna, an Olympic gold medalist from Switzerland, finished in 37 minutes, 5.6 seconds — 2.7 seconds slower than his compatriot.

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  Norway won the top spots in the 10K Classic, with Marit Bjoergen and Therese Johaug managed a 1-2 finish.

Ski jumping — World champion Kamil Stoch of Poland won his third World Cup event of the season in Willingen, Germany.

  Stoch soared 139.5 meters in his first jump and 145.5 in his second for a total of 263.2 points, 1 more than local favorite Severin Freund,

Luge — Two lugers who will compete at the Sochi Olympics helped the Americans win a silver medal in the team relay at the junior world championships in Igls, Austria.


  Summer Britcher and Tucker West had the singles portions of the team relay for the US team, which finished runner-up to Austria.