Hirscher, Shiffrin take drama out of World Cup Finals
ASPEN, Colo. — Mikaela Shiffrin and Marcel Hirscher have taken a chunk of the suspense out of World Cup Finals.
Not their fault, obviously. They’ve been that dominant this season.
Might it possibly be time to put more of a point value on the final set of races to close out the season — just to spice things up? Six of the final 10 season-ending globes have already been pretty much clinched.
“No. No, no, no,” Italian racer Peter Fill said when asked if races at World Cup Finals should be worth, say, 150 points for first place, instead of the customary 100. “Marcel skied so good, so there’s no chance to win the overall. We can ski fast and it’s impossible to beat him now. But I don’t think we need to change something.”
Hirscher enters Aspen having already secured his sixth straight World Cup overall title with a 554-point lead and only a possible 400 remaining. Shiffrin has a nearly insurmountable advantage of 378 points over Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia.
Should officials ever decide to bump up points for finals, Hirscher is game. He is game for anything, even if that wouldn’t be his first choice.
“If it is that way, OK, it is that way,” Hirscher said. “You have to deal with it. But I really think it should be the same, because why should a final race be worth more than a highlight race at Kitzbuehel?”
Formula One racing tried awarding double points to the winner of the final race to prolong the suspense in the drivers’ championship. It eventually was scrapped.
“It devalues the other races,” four-time overall winner Lindsey Vonn explained. “Every race should be the same. I feel like there’s enough pressure on us at finals anyway, to win overall titles, discipline titles. For those of the athletes that skied well all season, it can be sometimes difficult to maintain that energy through the finals. So if there are more points at the finals, I think it would be not fair.”
In addition to his overall crown, Hirscher has already wrapped up the men’s slalom and giant slalom discipline titles, while Kjetil Jansrud of Norway has captured the super-G crown. Shiffrin also locked up the women’s slalom title.
That leaves only four races that still need to crown a winner:
— Women’s giant slalom, with Tessa Worley of France holding an 80-point advantage over Shiffrin.
— Women’s downhill, where Stuhec leads by 97 points over Sofia Goggia of Italy.
— Women’s super-G, with Stuhec protecting a scant 15-point lead over Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather.
— Men’s downhill, where Jansrud leads Fill by 33 points.
When asked if adding more points at finals might inject more drama, retired German standout racer Maria Hoefl-Riesch simply said: “If you have people like Shiffrin and Hirscher who are dominating, it probably doesn’t change anything.”
Here are things to know heading into World Cup Finals that begin Wednesday with men’s and women’s downhill:
UNDER THE WEATHER: Vonn caught a cold on her recent trip back from South Korea and is struggling to catch her breath on the downhill course. “I’ll attack either way,” said Vonn, who finished third in Tuesday’s downhill training run, which was won by Stuhec. “I might just be on the ground on the finish.”
PUT ON THE GLOVES: Trailing Stuhec in the super-G standings, Weirather says she’s treating Thursday’s race like she’s “preparing for a boxing fight. You have that one day, where it’s going down and you don’t think about anything else.”
MORSE’S MEMORY: 20-year-old Sam Morse of Sugarloaf, Maine, made it into the downhill field courtesy of his world junior downhill win earlier this month. He will be skiing with two good friends on his mind: skiing prospects Bryce Astle and Ronnie Berlack, who were killed in an avalanche in Soelden, Austria, in January 2015. “They never got the opportunity to run a World Cup,” Morse said. “We’re carrying on their story.”
FRIENDLY BANTER: At an Oakley event Monday, Shiffrin and Vonn had a friendly argument over whether Shiffrin had seen “Dumb and Dumber” since the movie that features a cross-country trip to Aspen wasn’t released until 1994. Shiffrin was born in ’95. “It’s on DVD,” Shiffrin countered.
CATCHING JANSRUD: Fill had the top time in downhill training Tuesday but looks at catching Jansrud in the standings as an uphill climb. “Maybe it’s nothing, but when you need to beat Jansrud, it’s a lot,” Fill said. “I need a little bit of luck and some really good skiing.”
Men’s downhill skiing will take place today in Aspen where Jansrud will look to hold off Fill in the final run.
Should Jansrud be able to hold off Fill, he’ll put himself in a great spot to try and win the downhill overall crown.
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The Coal Ridge High School volleyball team closed out the 3A Western Slope League season at home Thursday night with a three-game win over Aspen (25-20, 25-11, 25-14).