American skier Shiffrin wins record 83rd World Cup race
SAN VIGILIO DI MAREBBE, Italy (AP) — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin has won a record 83rd World Cup race. Shiffrin’s giant slalom victory broke a tie on the all-time women’s list with former American teammate Lindsey Vonn. Vonn retired four years ago when injuries cut her career short. Shiffrin now needs only three more wins to match Ingemark Stenmark’s overall mark between men and women of 86 victories. Stenmark competed in the 1970s and 80s. Shiffrin says “I don’t think there are words to explain all the feelings.” Shiffrin can quickly add to her record total in another giant slalom at Kronplatz on Wednesday.
Shiffrin’s record follows 2 decades of US skiing success
Mikaela Shiffrin’s record 83rd World Cup victory is only the latest exploit by an American team that has been producing success after success on the circuit since Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller started it all off more than 20 years ago. Then Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso burst onto the scene on the women’s circuit. Ted Ligety won a surprise Olympic gold medal long before he became the World Cup’s leading giant slalom skier. And Miller, Ligety, Vonn and Mancuso were all still racing when Shiffrin emerged as the team’s and eventually the world’s next top skier.
Lindsey Vonn: Shiffrin’s record-breaking is sign of progress
Lindsey Vonn has been keeping track while Mikaela Shiffrin first matched her women’s World Cup skiing record of 82 wins earlier this month and then surpassed it with win No. 83 at a giant slalom in Italy. Vonn retired four years ago when injuries cut her career short. Shiffrin is still only 27 years old. Vonn says in an AP diary that she was “really happy that it’s an American” that broke her record. Vonn adds that “I knew from the very beginning that she would be the one to break all the records. But to be able to do it at such a young age is really impressive.”
2-time Australian champ Azarenka tops Pegula, talks anxiety
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Victoria Azarenka has defeated Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Australian Open semifinals for the first time in a decade. Azarenka displayed the same confident brand of hard-hitting baseline tennis that carried her to championships at Melbourne Park in 2012 and 2013. Azarenka’s semifinal opponent will be reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. She beat 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-2, 6-4. Karen Khachanov moved into his first Australian Open semifinal when Sebastian Korda stopped playing in the third set because of an injured right wrist. Khachanov will face No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas for a berth in the final.
Are bad shots, blown leads at Australian Open ‘choking’?
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The term “choke” is often used when describing a tennis player who misses what looks like an easy shot or loses a match at the Australian Open and other tournaments. The attention falls on one athlete when there are no teammates to cover for mistakes or provide help at key junctures in an individual sport. That means plenty of praise for the winners and accusations of “choking” lobbed at the losers. Sometimes it’s used when a high-ranked player is defeated by someone much lower-ranked that they’re “supposed” to beat. Or when someone throws away a big lead. It is not surprising that most players are not fans of the term.
Analysis: Trying to play good NBA defense ‘wild, hot mess’
DENVER (AP) — Someone will win Defensive Player of the Year this spring, even after a season where no one seems to be able to stop or even slow down anyone with the ball. It’s almost certain that more players will average 20 points per game than ever before. A decade ago, there were a dozen or so players. This season, 50 isn’t out of the question. Players still are playing defense in the NBA. Really, they are. But a combination of rule changes, style-of-play alterations, the ongoing addiction to the 3-point shot and more all adds up to the game favoring the offensive player. Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle adeptly described trying to guard anyone in the NBA these days as a “wild, hot mess.”
Jamaica: FBI to help probe massive fraud case targeting Bolt
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Jamaica’s government has turned to the FBI for help as it investigates a massive fraud case involving a private investment firm where $12.7 million belonging to renowned sprinter Usain Bolt has gone missing. Attorneys for the star athlete say his account now has just $12,000 in it. They’ve given the investment firm until Friday to return the money before going to court. The fraud also ensnared elderly clients and government agencies, and because they were given false account balances, authorities don’t yet know how much was stolen. Finance Minister Nigel Clarke said Monday that the investigation into Kingston-based Stocks and Securities Limited is just starting.
Cowboys’ last-ditch plays against 49ers never have a prayer
Two years in a row the Dallas Cowboys have flubbed their last-ditch drives against the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs. Last year, Dak Prescott ran too far on a quarterback draw and handed the ball to his center instead of the umpire. Time expired before he could get off one more play for a Hail Mary. This time, it was those around him who made the mistakes. Coach Mike McCarthy mismanaged the clock and tight end Dalton Schultz had two big blunders on the final drive that ended with a bizarre gadget play that failed spectacularly.
Chris Stapleton, Babyface to sing at Super Bowl pregame
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Country music star Chris Stapleton will hit next month’s Super Bowl stage to sing the national anthem, while R&B legend Babyface will perform “America the Beautiful.” The performances will take place Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, before the championship matchup and halftime show featuring Rihanna. The performances will air on Fox. Actor-singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, who won an Emmy last year, will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” She stars in the hit comedy series “Abbott Elementary,” which stars Quinta Bronson. Oscar winner Troy Kotsur will perform the national anthem in American sign language.
Scandals highlight lack of women coaches at top of US soccer
Few women are coaching at the top of American soccer — a result of how the sport offers scarce opportunities for female players and imposes a high price on coaching licenses. The shortage of qualified women was highlighted by a glut of vacancies created by men who were pushed out of the sport. When scandal rocked the National Women’s Soccer League in 2021, five male coaches were dismissed or forced to resign because of misconduct or harassment. Today, just three women hold head coaching jobs in the 12-team league. Five coaches, all men, are embarking on their first season with their teams this year.