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Four years ago Mikaela Shiffrin had a ”crazy” dream of winning

 That aim is seeming less and less unrealistic.

Just after becoming the youngest ever Olympic slalom champion at the Sochi
Games Darnell
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, the then 18-year-old Shiffrin dreamed aloud ”of
the next Olympics (and) winning five gold medals.”

Right away she admitted her ambition ”sounds really crazy.”

However, less than five weeks ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics, that number
seems more obtainable than ever before.

Shiffrin probably won’t win that handful of gold medals, but mainly because
she is unlikely to enter five different events in South Korea.

She will only decide on short notice which events she is going to enter at
the Olympics.

Unlike at previous games, this time the technical races of GS and slalom are
the first events on the women’s Alpine Olympic schedule, enabling Shiffrin to
compete in her core disciplines before making up her mind on possible starts in
the speed events of downhill and super-G, and the concluding combined and team

Developed into a potential winner of every race she competes in, and even
triumphing for the first time in a downhill in December, Shiffrin has been
dominating the Alpine skiing World Cup for months.

Her win in a slalom in Slovenia on Sunday was her ninth of the season, and
seventh out of the last eight races, boosting her career total to 40.

That number leaves her one short of the all-time record for most World Cup
wins by a 22-year-old, set by Austrian great Annemarie Moser-Proell in the

With the World Cup season approaching the halfway mark, Shiffrin is leading
the overall standings as well as every single discipline except for super-G, the
only event she hasn’t won yet.

Her season stats are even far exceeding her achievements from last year, when
she became the third American female skier after Tamara McKinney and four-time
champion Lindsey Vonn to win the overall title.

Though winning is not all what Shiffrin is after.

”It’s a good way to put it that I am not competing, I am just enjoying every
turn that I make Elgton
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, to make every turn aggressive,” Shiffrin said.
”Right now I am just enjoying that so much, the skiing, that it’s even more
important than the winning.”

Still, the wins keep piling up.

With 100 points for every victory, Shiffrin has racked up 1,281 World Cup
points after 18 of this season’s 38 races and looks set to break the record for
the most World Cup points in a single season – 2,414 by retired Slovenian great
Tina Maze, a record many deemed unbreakable.

In her main event, Shiffrin is not just winning, she is crushing the field.
She triumphed in the past four slaloms by margins of 1.64, 0.89, 1.59 and again
1.64 seconds – a country mile in the sport.

Having won 20 of the last 25 slaloms she entered, it’s hard to see past
Shiffrin for gold at the Pyeongchang Games, even if the American doesn’t regard
herself unbeatable by any means.

”Every single of the competitors can match,” she said. ”That makes me even
more motivated to keep moving forward.”

While a night race in Flachau on Tuesday will be the penultimate slalom ahead
of the Olympics Jace
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, Shiffrin will be eager to keep her momentum
going in weeks to come.

After Sunday’s race, Frida Hansdotter of Sweden praised the American for
”taking the sport to another level.”

But Shiffrin, who usually refrains from keeping track of her records and
statistics, said ”it doesn’t feel like it’s something crazy that’s

This time, she said, ”it’s not like dreaming. And that’s really

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas
Dimitroff received a text from Matt Ryan during the NFL draft.The Falcons’
quarterback obviously approved of the team’s first-round selections of two
offensive linemen.Dimitroff said the message from Ryan was brief: “Thanks. Just
thanks and wow.”For Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn, the top priority of the
offseason was to build a better line after Ryan was sacked 42 times last season,
the second-highest total of his career. He was hit 113 times, the third-most in
the league.Dimitroff’s first pick was guard Chris Lindstrom of Boston College.
He then traded away the Falcons’ second- and third-round picks to add tackle
Kaleb McGary of Washington late in the first round.An improved line also would
be key to the team’s hopes of boosting the running game, which sagged last
season.“Make no mistake about it, we knew what we needed to do in this offseason
and that was to continue to fortify Matt and the offensive line,” Dimitroff
saidWHO THEY GOTLindstrom and McGary could form a new starting tandem on the
right side of the Falcons’ line. Clearly, they are the key to how this draft
will be remembered.“It may not have been shiny but I don’t think grit is real
shiny,” Quinn said taking two offensive linemen in the first round. “I’m real
thrilled they’ll be part of this group for a long time.”Dimitroff went to work
on addressing other needs on Saturday’s final day of the draft. Cornerbacks
Kendall Sheffield of Ohio State and Jordan Miller of Washington, defensive end
John Cominsky of Charleston and running back Qadree Ollison of Pittsburgh each
were picked to bolster areas of pressing concern.The team’s last pick Dexter
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, running back Marcus Green of Louisiana-Monroe,
may make an immediate contribution as a return specialist. The versatile Green
(5-8, 190) was primarily a wide receiver in college, but the Falcons are
intrigued by his big-play potential at running back and on returns.Cominsky or
Green could develop into long-term surprises of the draft class.SURPRISE
MOVEAfter continuing his streak of making at least one trade in each of his 12
drafts as Atlanta’s general manager by adding a second first-round pick,
Dimitroff remained inactive on the second day of the draft. Dimitroff traded
away his second- and third-round picks but was widely expected to pull off a
trade back into the second day. The surprise was he couldn’t deal two or more of
his Saturday picks to move back into the second or third rounds.HOW THEY
DIDAtlanta had ample picks to allow Dimitroff the luxury of overhauling the
offensive line with two first-round picks. He knew taking a guard so high in the
first round would generate some negative reviews, but he and coach Dan Quinn
agreed Lindstrom was the right pick. Adding McGary at No. 31 overall meant the
Falcons could have two rookies starting on the right side of the line.Dimitroff
may have gambled on some high-upside picks, including Cominsky, who was an
option quarterback in high school before gaining 70 pounds in college. Ollison,
a power runner, had inconsistent production at Pittsburgh.It will be judged as a
successful draft if Lindstrom and McGary win starting jobs, Ollison can be a
complementary running back with Devonta Freeman and Sheffield and Cominsky win
roster spots and contribute on special teams.WHAT’S NEXT?Dimitroff was
successful in filling needs, though there may be room for more help on the
defensive line, at linebacker and perhaps at running back from undrafted free
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