O'Brien Makes Moves in Parallel Slalom and Scores Points in Third Discipline
Under the sunshine and blue sky in St. Moritz, Switzerland, Slovakia's Petra Vlhova capitalized on Mikaela Shiffrin's absence and emerged victorious in Sunday's parallel slalom, while Sweden's Anna Swenn Larsson was second, and Austria's Franziska Gritsch rounded out the podium in third.
The Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team's Nina O'Brien was sitting in 14th after the qualification round, +.88 seconds off of Petra's pace, and went into the 1/16th final. A couple of slight errors meant Nina did not make it to the 1/8th final, as Slovenia's Ana Bucik narrowly snuck ahead of her to move onward, to finish eighth overall. Nina would finish 24th on the day, comfortably solidifying herself as a three-event skier on the World Cup, having scored points in slalom, giant slalom and parallel slalom events.
"I'm feeling pretty good. I'm glad I was able to qualify for the race and compete...I wish I would have had a little more speed on my runs, but overall not bad," said Nina after the parallel. "I feel I learned that I can be in there, so there's a little bit of confidence there, and I definitely need to work a little bit more on my jumps and starts. I'm excited to do more parallel events. I've been training more giant slalom lately and it has been good. Courchevel is always a fun place to race, so I'm looking forward to it." Nina has been skiing fast in training, so keep an eye on her at Courchevel as she hunts for some more valuable World Cup points.
The big story of the day was the bold and wise decision of Mikaela Shiffrin to sit out of today's parallel event, after her third place finish in Saturday's super-G. Mikaela swept the St. Moritz FIS Ski World Cup series last year, winning both the super-G and parallel slalom. She also won the last dual format event on the World Cup calendar—a City Event in Stockholm, Sweden—just after World Championships. Due to a busy race schedule that has Mikaela competing in five races across four different disciplines in the next 15 days, she decided to focus on long-term gains and maintain her focus and energy.
Alice Merryweather also started for the Americans, though she DNFed during the elimination run and did not qualify for the race. Up next for the women is a giant slalom on Tuesday in Courchevel, France and then onward to Val d'Isere, France—a favorite stop on the tour for the women's speed team—for a downhill and alpine combined on Dec. 21-22. Mikaela is slated to compete in all three upcoming French venue events.
WORLD CUP STANDINGS
Saturday, Dec. 15
8:00 p.m. - Women’s parallel slalom, St. Moritz, SUI - NBCSN*
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.