Winter Olympics 2018: Mikaela Shiffrin wins again, North Korea willing to compete in Pyeongchang

Mikaela Shiffrin in action in Austria
American Mikaela Shiffrin won for the third successive World Cup in Austria

With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang looming next month, BBC Sport brings you a weekly round-up of the big stories in the build-up.

Supreme Shiffrin continues domination

ALPINE SKIING: Mikaela Shiffrin, 22, further underlined her status as the overwhelming favourite to retain the Winter Olympics slalom title with victory in Lienz, Austria.

The American's victory, by a comfortable margin of 0.89 seconds, was her third in a row in World Cup events.

She has claimed five wins overall in the 2017-18 season: two in her pet event, slalom, and the others in giant slalom, parallel slalom and downhill.

North Korea ready to take part in Winter Games

GENERAL: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un used his New Year's Day speech to announce for the first time that the country would be willing to take part in next month's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.

"The Winter Games to be held in South Korea will be a good occasion for the country," Kim added during his 30-minute address.

Skating pair Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik are the only North Korean athletes to have so far qualified for Pyeongchang 2018.

Ryding fourth as Myhrer wins in Oslo

PARALLEL SLALOM: Great Britain's Dave Ryding finished fourth in Oslo - equalling his second best ever result - after knocking out world champion Marcel Hirscher.

Sweden's Andre Myhrer beat Austria's Michael Matt in the final to win the event.

Paris enjoys home comfort in Italy

ALPINE SKIING: Italy's Dominik Paris claimed a popular home victory with downhill gold in Bormio - a first World Cup win of the season for Italy's men.

Paris was denied a double celebration in the combined event a day later when, having led after the downhill, a missed gate towards the end of the slalom run allowed France's Alexis Pinturault to take the victory.

Poland's Kamil Stoch
Poland's Kamil Stoch geared up for his Olympic title defence with victory in the Four Hills Tournament

Stoch trades in gold again

SKI JUMPING: Kamil Stoch defeated home favourite and overall World Cup leader Richard Freitag in the first two legs of the esteemed Four Hills Tournament in Germany.

Stoch, the two-time reigning Olympic champion from Poland, will continue his quest for back-to-back Four Hills titles when the competition moves to Innsbruck on Wednesday.

Olympic and world champion delays return to action

FIGURE SKATING: World champion Yuzuru Hanyu will not compete again until he begins the defence of his Olympic title in Pyeongchang in February.

The Japanese skater, who injured his right ankle in training in November, will sit out this month's Four Continents event to continue his recovery.

Swiss causes upset

CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING: Unheralded Laurien van der Graaff claimed an unexpected first World Cup victory in the opening leg of the seven-stage Tour de Ski in her native Switzerland.

Sergey Ustiugov of Russia won the corresponding men's sprint race, in which Britain's Andrew Young finished 10th to overshadow more celebrated compatriot Andrew Musgrave, who was 21st.

The Tour de Ski consists of seven events over nine days, starting in Switzerland before moving to Germany and then Italy.

Kramer's unbeaten run ends

SPEED SKATING: Olympic and world champion Sven Kramer suffered his first defeat over 5,000m for 26 months when surprisingly pipped in the Dutch Olympic trials by Bob de Vries. Both skaters qualified for the Winter Olympics.

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

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