Mikaela Shiffrin poses with her gold medal for the women's slalom… (Olivier Morin / AFP / Getty…)
Mikaela Shiffrin might as well be dancing or flying.
That's what skiing is like for the American teenager these days. The victories and milestones keep piling up, fortifying a U.S. team that is without Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller.
At Schladming, Austria, a day after Ted Ligety became the first man to win three gold medals at a world championships in 45 years, Shiffrin became the youngest woman in 39 years to win the slalom title Saturday.
At the age of 17 years, 340 days, Shiffrin shook off a serious bout of nerves to edge local hope Michaela Kirchgasser from the lead before 30,000 fans who were nearly all supporting the Austrian.
The only slalom world champions younger than Shiffrin were Hanni Wenzel of Liechtenstein in 1974 and Esme Mackinnon of Britain in 1931. Overall, Shiffrin is the youngest women's world champion since American Diann Roffe-Steinrotter, who was 21 days younger when she won the giant slalom title in 1985.
After taking the lead in the second run, Shiffrin watched Tanja Poutiainen of Finland and Frida Hansdotter of Sweden fail to match her time. Shiffrin finished in a combined time of 1 minute 39.85 seconds, with Kirchgasser 0.22 behind in second and Hansdotter third, 0.26 back.
Torin Yater-Wallace led an American 1-2 finish in the men's freestyle skiing halfpipe event at Sochi, Russia, his second World Cup victory this season. Switzerland's Virginie Faivre won the women's race.
Yater-Wallace fell at the end of his first run but responded in the second heat and was awarded 93.8 points. Gus Kenworthy also had a better second run to secure second place with 90.0 points. Canadian Mike Riddle finished third.
U.S. teammates Noelle Pikus-Pace and Katie Uhlaender took the top two spots — by a wide margin — in the season-ending skeleton World Cup race on at the 2014 Olympic track north of Sochi. They did so hours after Elana Meyers and Aja Evans won silver for the Americans in the women's bobsled finale on the circuit.
Patrick sets pace at Daytona
Danica Patrick turned the fastest lap in a pair of practice sessions focused solely on qualifying for the Daytona 500. She went 196.220 mph around Daytona International Speedway in the second practice session and said she's eyeing the top starting spot in "The Great American Race."
Kevin Harvick won the exhibition Sprint Unlimited race by dominating the final two segments of Saturday night's Speedweeks opener.
It was Harvick's third win in the last five years in the non-points race at Daytona International Speedway. He held off challenges from Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle on the final lap to win in his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. It's a strong opener for what's going to be Harvick's final year with RCR. Biffle finished second and Joey Logano was third in his Penske Racing debut.
A day after securing the No. 1 ranking, Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova, 6-3, 6-2, to reach the Qatar Open final at Doha. Williams has beaten Sharapova 10 straight times. Williams will play for the title against Victoria Azarenka, whom she will replace at the top of the new rankings Monday. Azarenka beat Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3, 6-3.
Tommy Haas reached his first final in six months, beating John Isner, 6-3, 6-4, in the SAP Open semifinals at San Jose.
He will face top-seeded Milos Raonic, who downed third-seeded Sam Querrey, 6-4, 6-2.
Bernhard Langer shot a two-under 70 to take a three-shot lead after the second round of the Champions Tour's ACE Group Classic at Naples, Fla. Taiwan's Chien Soon Lu and Tom Pernice Jr. are tied for second at nine-under 135.
Jiyai Shin of South Korea and 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko each shot rounds of three-under 70 Saturday to surge six shots clear of the field heading into the final day of the Women's Australian Open at Canberra.
Beatriz Recari of Spain had a 71 and is third. Yani Tseng also shot a 71 to finish a stroke back with a group of five players at nine under.
Bernard Lagat regained the American record in the indoor 2 miles with yet another victory at the Millrose Games in New York.
The 38-year-old Lagat finished in 8 minutes 9.49 seconds at the Armory to just barely accomplish his goal, lowering Galen Rupp's mark by 0.23 of a second. Lagat now owns the U.S. indoor records at 1,500 meters, 1 mile, 3,000 meters, 5,000 meters and 2 miles.