Winter Olympics 2018: GB medal hope boost, Shiffrin wins, Vonn crashes

Mikaela Shiffrin in the Lake Louise downhill
The USA's Mikaela Shiffrin won her first World Cup downhill at the weekend

With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, just two months away, BBC Sport brings you a weekly round-up of the big stories.

Shiffrin shines but Vonn's not on song

ALPINE SKIING: There were mixed fortunes for the USA's top skiers at the World Cup races in Lake Louise, Canada, at the weekend.

Slalom specialist Mikaela Shiffrin showed she can also excel in downhill, following up her first top-three finish in that discipline last Friday with victory in the second race on the following day.

The 22-year-old then finished fifth in the Super-G to lead the overall standings.

But team-mate Lindsey Vonn, who had previously won 18 times at Lake Louise, did not finish two of her three races, suffering a heavy crash in the first downhill.

Hirscher back on top

ALPINE SKIING: Marcel Hirscher continued his return from injury with victory in the giant slalom in the World Cup event in Beaver Creek.

The Austrian, who broke his ankle in a training fall in August, finished almost a second faster than the field at the American resort.

Hirscher has been a dominant force in Alpine skiing in recent years, winning the last six overall titles - but the 28-year-old is yet to win Olympic gold.

Meanwhile, three-time Olympic medallist Aksel Lund Svindal won the downhill at Beaver Creek. It was a 33rd World Cup victory for the Norwegian - but his first for almost two years, during which he has twice had knee surgery.

Musgrave building momentum

CROSS COUNTRY SKIING: Britain's Andrew Musgrave just missed out on a top-10 finish in the Skiathlon in Lillehammer.

Musgrave, who is hoping to become Britain's first-ever cross country medallist in Pyeongchang, was 13th in Norway, his best World Cup result of the season so far.

The race was won by Norway's Johannes Klaebo, who made it five World Cup wins in a row to extend his lead in the overall standings.

SNOWBOARDING: Britain's Katie Ormerod had to settle for 10th despite a solid cab 900 in the big air in Monchengladbach in Germany, with team-mate Aimee Fuller in 11th. In para-snowboarding, James Barnes-Miller claimed a bronze medal in snowboardcross in a World Cup in Finland.

Japan smash record again

SPEED SKATING: Japan's women team pursuiters laid down another marker for a first Olympic title in Pyeongchang by breaking the world record for the second time this season at the Speed Skating World Cup event in Calgary.

The trio of Miho Takagi, Nana Takagi and Ayaka Kikuchi finished in 2 minutes 53.88 seconds to take almost two seconds off the mark they set at the World Cup event in the Netherlands three weeks ago.

Action from USA v Canada
Canada have won the last four Olympic titles, beating the USA in three of the finals

Canada edge out USA

ICE HOCKEY: Canada's women came from behind to win 2-1 in overtime against the USA in Minnesota.

The two nations have contested three of the last four Winter Olympic finals, with Canada coming out on top each time, although the USA have won the last four world titles.

Despite the defeat, which puts the USA 2-1 down in the six-game series, coach Robb Stauber remains confident his side can end their 20-year Olympic drought: "We've got to bring home a gold medal. We've got a pretty good vision. We're sticking with it, and we like our direction."

GB sledders on course for 2014 medal

BOBSLEIGH: Great Britain's four-man bobsleigh team could be awarded the 2014 Winter Olympics bronze medal after members from two Russian crews were banned following a doping investigation.

The British crew, piloted by the now-retired John Jackson, originally came fifth but are now likely to be upgraded, although the sanctioned athletes can appeal against the decision by the International Olympic Committee.

That would make it five medals won in Sochi 2014, and therefore the most successful Winter Games for Great Britain.

North Koreans miss deadline

FIGURE SKATING: North Korea have missed a deadline to accept a pairs figure skating place at the Winter Olympics.

Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik, who secured the spot at a qualification event in Germany in September, are the only North Koreans to have qualified for Pyeongchang.

The International Skating Union said that they have failed to meet the 30 November deadline for accepting this place although it is thought there may be a way for the North Koreans to participate if they want.

"In the hypothetical situation that North Korea would subsequently ask for its quota confirmation, the ISU would refer such a request to the IOC," said an ISU spokesperson.

IOC set to rule on Russia

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will decide this week if Russia will be allowed to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Another eight Russian athletes were banned last week as a result of the IOC investigation into the doping scandal.

A total of 22 Russians have so far been banned from the Olympics for life on the recommendation of the IOC commission set up to investigate the findings of a report into doping allegations.

BBC coverage this week

Friday 8 December

09:00-10:00, Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Cup, Winterberg, Germany - Women's skeleton (heat one), BBC Red Button and online (heat two, 10:30-11:30, BBC Red Button and Connected TV and online). The World Cup season arrives in Europe and Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold will be aiming to make amends for the last round, when she failed to make the final run.

12:30-13:30, Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Cup, Winterberg, Germany - Men's skeleton (heat one), Connected TV and online (heat two 14:00-15:00, Connected TV and online).

Saturday 9 December

08:45-09:45, Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Cup, Winterberg, Germany - Women's bobsleigh, heat one, BBC Red Button and online (heat two, 10:15-11:15, BBC Red Button, Connected TV and online). Britain's Mica McNeill and Mica Moore have a top-five finish under their belts this season - can they build on that form?

12:30-13:30, Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Cup, Winterberg, Germany - Two-man bobsleigh (heat one), BBC Red Button and online (heat two, 14:00-15:00, Connected TV and online).

Sunday 10 December

10:30-11:30, Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Cup, Winterberg, Germany - Four-man bobsleigh (heat one), Connected TV and online (heat two, 12:00-13:00). British crews will be looking to continue their recent good form.

14:35-16:35, Bobsleigh & Skeleton World Cup, Winterberg, Germany - Four-man bobsleigh (heats one and two), BBC Two (replay).

17:15-18:15, Ski Sunday, BBC Two (23:00-00:00 in Scotland) - The iconic winter sports show returns for its 40th year.

The 2018 Winter Olympics take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, from 9 to 25 February. You will be able to follow live BBC Sport coverage of the Winter Games on TV, radio and online.

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