While you were sleeping, what happened in women's giant slalom?

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Teen sensation Mikaela Shiffrin's first Olympic race wasn't remarkable but was totally respectable, as she finished fifth in the women's giant slalom Tuesday that was won by Slovenia's Tina Maze, who claimed her second gold medal of the Sochi Games.

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Shiffrin, 18, of Eagle-Vail, Colo., the reigning slalom world champion and considered to have an outside chance at a medal in women's giant slalom, skied impressively but not fast enough in both runs.

Her total two-run time of 2 minutes, 37.37 seconds was 0.50 seconds behind Maze but just 0.23 seconds behind bronze medal winner Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany.

The silver medal went to Austria's Anna Fenninger, the super-G gold medalist whose time was just 0.07 seconds behind Maze's winning time of 2:27.87.

Maze took a 0.52 lead into the second run. In the first run, she was the first skier down the course and seemed unfazed by the unfavorable conditions — fog and a steady rain.

Shiffrin had a solid first run and was just 0.26 seconds behind third-place Nadia Fanchini of Italy.

"I was nervous at the start but I wasn't when I was in the gates," Shiffrin said in a brief interview in the rain after her first run. "I just wanted to ski."

What does she need to do to in the second medal to make a charge for the podium?

"Ski faster," she said. "Just loosen up my legs and go for it."

Was the rain a factor?

"I didn't really notice it, so I guess not," Shiffrin said.

The USA's Julia Mancuso, who won the USA's first medal at these Games, a bronze in the super-combined, did not finish the first run.

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"Definitely with the snow surface not being consistent and you can't really see it, it's hard with timing, and I was just losing my timing a little bit," Mancuso said. "I just caught a really soft spot, and it twisted me. That's the only bummer when the snow is like this. You really have to be precise."

Mancuso 29, of Squaw Valley, Calif., is not in the slalom, so this was her last race in Sochi. She leaves with four career Olympic medals, a record for U.S. women skiers.

What does her future hold?

"Being here and kind of coming back from not a good race season kind of put in perspective for me what skiing's about," she said. "Coming into these Olympics, I really wanted a medal, and I got bronze.

"I for sure still want gold. If I can continue skiing well, especially on the speed side, and get to a place where I can still be fighting for gold medals . . . At the beginning of the season , I felt there was no way I'd come back. But after coming here and kind of having that magical day, it makes me want to keep going."

Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who has started 69 giant slaloms in her career with no victories, pulled out of the race with a sore throat. Hoefl-Riesch, who earlier in Sochi had a gold medal in the super-combined and a silver in super-G, is the defending Olympic champion in slalom, which is Friday.


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