Shiffrin, Miller make Sochi skiing 1 for the ages

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 23, 2014 at 4:18 am •  Published: February 23, 2014

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — From Mikaela Shiffrin to Bode Miller, from Mario Matt to Henrik Kristoffersen, Alpine skiing at the Sochi Olympics was one for the ages.

The 18-year-old Shiffrin already was pegged as the sport's face of the future, and she established herself as a star of the present by becoming the youngest slalom champion in Olympic history.

"It's going to be something that I chalk up as one of my favorite experiences for the rest of my life," the precocious Shiffrin said. "But my life's not over yet."

Yes, she seems to be just getting started.

Her U.S. teammate Miller, meanwhile, took home a bronze in the super-G, his sixth Olympic medal. At 36, he is the oldest Alpine medalist ever.

Matt, who turns 35 in April, won the schedule-closing men's slalom on Saturday night for Austria to become the sport's oldest gold medalist. Krisoffersen, 19, was third in that race, making the Norwegian the youngest man to win an Olympic Alpine medal.

"Guys like Bode and guys like Mario definitely are validation that you can continue on into the later years," said Ted Ligety, the American who won the giant slalom.

"I plan on continuing on," said Ligety, who would be 33 at the 2018 Olympics.

Here are five things to know about the Alpine events on the Rosa Khutor slopes:

AUSTRIA'S BACK: Four years ago, Austria's skiers left the Vancouver Games with four medals, zero earned by their men. This time, the ski-loving nation led everyone with nine medals, starting off with gold from Matthias Mayer in the opening race, the downhill, and capping things off with a 1-2 finish by Matt and Marcel Hirscher in the slalom. Anna Fenninger won gold in the super-G and silver in the giant slalom.

U.S. RECOVERY: Midway through the Alpine schedule, the U.S. had won one of 15 medals, Julia Mancuso's bronze in the super-combined. U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml's assessment then? "We probably expected a little more, to be honest," he said, adding that he was certain his skiers would fare better the rest of the way. He was right. Less than 24 hours later, Andrew Weibrecht's stunning silver and Miller's bronze in the super-G got the team going. Then came golds from Ligety and Shiffrin, helping a team missing the injured Lindsey Vonn finish with five medals. "I said halfway through, 'It's not over yet,'" Riml said. "And the next day, the guys pulled something out."

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