In her final World Cup race before flying to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, Mikaela Shiffrin managed only a fifth place result in the giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, Tuesday.
Shiffrin finished off the podium that featured Frenchwoman Tessa Worley, Slovakia's Petra Vlhova, and Sweden's Sara Hector, who edged Vlhova by .15 to capture her third GS win of the season. She extended her lead in the World Cup giant slalom standings.
Shiffrin was third after Run 1, then made an error during her second run that cost her significant time. She finished with just the 20th-best Run 2 of the field. But, most importantly, she finished and avoided any injury that might keep her out of February's Winter Olympics. Breezy Johnson, Shiffrin's U.S. teammate and one of the top downhill skiers in the world, will not be as lucky. She announcedlate Monday that a recent training crash resulted in a knee injury that will prevent her from competing at the Winter Games.
Meanwhile, Hector's victory affirms that the Swede will be the out-and-out gold medal favorite when the field takes aim at the giant slalom at the Yanqing Alpine Skiing Center in 13 days. She is enjoying a breakout season at the relatively advanced age of 29 for a skier. Shiffrin is the defending Olympic champion in the GS.
Follow the action from Kronplatz as it happened with our live blog below.
LIVE BLOG: Alpine skiing World Cup Kronplatz
4:30 a.m. ET – First skier down
Slalom leader and No. 2 in the overall World Cup standings, Petra Vlhova, is in the leadoff spot. She sets off down the mile-long "Erta" course and we are underway.
4:32 a.m. ET – Vlhova sets the bar
Petra Vlhova skies her first run in 59.98. That's the mark to beat as Italian Marta Bassino starts her run. Mikaela Shiffrin is soon to come wearing bib #4.
4:35 a.m. ET – Shiffrin on deck
Vlhova's mark remains tops through three skiers as Mikaela Shiffrin settles into the gate.
4:38 a.m. ET – Shiffrin 0.59 off the pace
Mikaela Shiffrin's first run is a 1:00.57, which puts her in second place by more than a half second through four races.
4:40 a.m. ET – Sara Hector moves into second
Giant slalom World Cup leader Sara Hector of Sweden finished her run in 1:00.32, good enough for second place between Vlhova and Shiffrin. Hector skied under Vlhova's pace for the first two sectors on the course, then lost time near the midway point to finish .34 off the pace.
4:50 a.m. ET – Standings after 10
The first 10 skiers have taken their first runs in Kronplatz, and so far only Petra Vlhova has cracked the minute mark.
1. Petra Vlhova: 59.58
2. Sara Hector: +.34
3. Mikaela Shiffrin: +.59
4. Marta Bassino: +.61
5. Maryna Gasienica-Daniel: +.65
6. Federica Brignone: +.70
7. Tessa Worley: +.82
8. Alice Robinson: +1.10
9. Michelle Gisin: +1.50
10. Katharina Liensberger: +1.89
5:03 a.m. ET – USA's Nina O'Brien into 17th
Nina O'Brien was unable to ski a clean first run as mistakes cost her significant time. She finishes 2.03 off the lead and into 17th place.
Run 2 session begins at 7 a.m. ET
8:15 a.m. ET – O'Brien, Moltzan guaranteed top-20s
Tessa Worley leads with the top five skiers still to come. Both Nina O'Brien and Paula Moltzan of Team USA currently sit inside the top-15, meaning both are guaranteed of top-20 finishes.
8:19 a.m. ET – Shiffrin begins final run
American was third after the Run 1.
8:21 a.m. ET – 2nd run not enough for Shiffrin
It won't be a 15th career giant slalom win for Mikaela Shiffrin. She finishes her second run in 1:03.31, and is in third place with two skiers to got. France's Tessa Worley still in the leader's chair.
8:25 a.m. ET – Sara Hector scores 3rd GS win of season
The Swede gets it done again with a second run of 1:03.31, enough to overcome the slight Run 1 lead of Petra Vlhova, who finishes second. Hector extends her lead in the giant slalom World Cup standings and affirms herself as the Olympic gold medal favorite in the GS.