American teenager makes history in World Cup slalom

American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin used two attacking and error-free runs to became the youngest female on a World Cup slalom podium since Tamara McKinney in 1978.

The 16-year-old Shiffrin finish third Thursday in Lienz, Austria, behind winner Marlies Schild of Austria and Tina Maze of Slovenia. Schild, one of Shiffrin’s idols, won her fourth straight slalom race this season.

“I have learned something from so many racers,” Shiffrin said. “From Marlies, getting her 31st win here. From Lindsey [Vonn], with so many wins in all the disciplines. From the whole U.S team, with all their energy and the positive attitude.”

Shiffrin started her eighth World Cup event at No. 40. She ended the opening run in 12th before posting the fastest time in the final run. She finished 1.30 seconds behind Schild, who lost 0.24 to Shiffrin in the final run.

Schild had two flawless runs to finish in a combined 1 minute, 51.42 seconds and beat Maze by 0.79 seconds. Vonn finished 18th and retained the lead in the overall World Cup standings.

Shiffrin, who became the youngest U.S. national slalom champion last spring, impressed with a second run that included turns extremely close to the gates.


Shiffrin made her debut on the World Cup just before her 16th birthday last March, starting in two World Cup races in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic. For now, she’s only focusing on slalom and giant slalom, leaving the speed events for down the road.

She’s accompanied by her mother, Eileen, who also helps the high school student with her homework. Shiffrin lives in an apartment near Soelden, Austria, which is the U.S. team’s training base in Europe.


Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner said he was awarded World Cup television rights for as little as $1 in return for helping Sepp Blatter win elections for the presidency of world soccer’s ruling body.

Warner, who resigned from FIFA in June amid bribery allegations, said in a statement that the organization awarded him the 1998 World Cup rights in his native Trinidad & Tobago for $1 after he helped Blatter win a “brutal” campaign to become FIFA president.

A former president of regional body CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union, Warner also said he was sold the rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups after helping Blatter get re-elected in 2002, and later bought the 2010 and 2014 rights.

The accusations are the latest twist to the corruption accusations and infighting that have dogged FIFA throughout 2011.

Asked about Warner’s claims, FIFA said in a statement that “we are currently looking into the matter.”

Once a Blatter ally, Warner switched his allegiance to Qatar’s Mohammed bin Hammam during FIFA’s presidential election this year. After being suspended by FIFA in May, Warner had threatened to unleash a “tsunami” of corruption allegations against the organization.


The Internal Revenue Service is suing New York Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner over what it calls an “erroneous” tax refund of more than $670,000. The suit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Tampa, Fla.

The dispute dates to the 2001 tax year and involves a refund the IRS paid in 2009. The IRS says the refund claim was filed too late and has sued Steinbrenner and his wife, Christina, to recover $670,493.78.

Yankees spokeswoman Alice McGillion says Steinbrenner’s representatives hadn’t received any prior notices regarding the matter from the IRS.


Left-hander John Danks agreed to a five-year, $65-million contract to remain with the Chicago White Sox. Danks was 8-12 with a 4.33 earned-run average last season. He won 15 games in 2010.


Luke Donald was the overwhelming choice as male player of the year by the Golf Writers Assn. of America. Donald, who won four times around the world and became the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and the European Tour in the same season, won 88% of the vote to easily beat Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Rory McIlroy.

Yani Tseng received 94% of the vote as the female player of the year after winning 12 times worldwide, including two majors.


Rafael Nadal plans to take several weeks off after the Australian Open to recover from a nagging shoulder injury.