Teenager Mikaela Shiffrin used to watch skiers Marlies Schild and Lindsey Vonn on TV when she was a kid.
On Thursday, the 16-year-old high school student from Vail, Colo., was standing alongside Schild on a World Cup slalom podium in Lienz, Austria, leaving U.S. teammate Vonn more than a second and a half behind.
Shiffrin skied a stunning second run to finish third in a race won by her Austrian idol, becoming the youngest female racer to make the podium in a slalom since American Tamara McKinney in 1978.
Shiffrin started her eighth World Cup event as No. 40 and ended the opening run in 12th position before posting the fastest time of the second leg. She finished 1.30 seconds behind Schild, who lost 0.24 to Shiffrin on the second run.
Tina Maze of Slovenia was second. Vonn finished 18th but retained the lead in the overall World Cup standings.
While Shiffrin scored a breakthrough, her U.S. teammate and oldest racer at 32, Sarah Schleper, retired after 15 years and 186 races on the circuit.
Schleper took part in the final race of her career by leisurely skiing down the Hochstein course in a gray minidress, carrying a camera and picking up her 3-year-old son Lasse midway through her run.
In Bormio, Italy, Switzerland's Didier Defago had a nearly flawless run and clocked 2 minutes, 1.81 seconds to win the downhill, with countryman Patrick Kueng 0.29 seconds behind and Klaus Kroell of Austria third, 0.42 back. American Bode Miller, who now holds a nine-point lead over Kroell in the overall standings, was fifth.
COLLEGES: Villanova track and cross-country all-American Sheila Reed has again been named the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association's Outstanding Amateur Athlete. Reid, the two-time NCAA cross-country individual champion, will be honored at the PSWA's annual awards dinner in Cherry Hill on Jan. 30.
SOCCER: Union midfielder Freddy Adu will train with Rayo Vallecano amid rumors he may join the top-tier Spanish club. Adu, who was among the players left unprotected last month in the Major League Soccer expansion draft for the Montreal Impact, confirmed his trip to Spain on his Twitter account.
Rayo sporting director Felipe Minambres said Adu will train with the club for 12 days starting on Friday.
MLSsoccer.com reported that the trip was originally scheduled for mid-December, but was delayed by Adu's call-up to an Olympic camp in Florida. While Adu's visit is not being considered a tryout, sources indicated to MLSsoccer.com that Rayo may have some interest in signing Adu, in which case the Union could negotiate a transfer fee.
The Seattle Sounders have signed Swedish defender Adam Johansson to a multiyear contract.
BASEBALL: The Chicago White Sox and starting pitcher John Danks have agreed on a five-year, $65 million contract through 2016. A 15-game winner in 2010, the 26-year-old lefty slumped last season and was 8-12 with a 4.33 ERA.
GOLF: The Golf Writers Association of America named Luke Donald, the first player to win the money title on the PGA Tour and the European Tour in the same season, as male player of the year.
Yani Tseng, who won 12 times worldwide, including two majors, was chosen as female player of the year.
Tom Lehman took the senior honors.