Winter Olympics 2018 predictions: Alpine Skiing

The United States has the fourth most medals all-time in alpine skiing at the Olympic Winter Games with 44. They only trail the skiing superpowers of Austria (114) and Switzerland (59) as well as France (45). 

There is no doubt that the United States alpine ski team has two of the most high profile skiers in the sport today. Lindsey Vonn has a great resume in the speed events of downhill and super giant slalom, while Mikaela Shiffrin has shown excellence in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. Once in a while, there will also be a surprise. At the last two Olympic Winter Games,  Andrew Weibrecht, shocked the world by winning the silver medal in super giant slalom at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi and the bronze medal in super giant slalom at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. 

Heading into the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Vonn and Shiffrin are skiing very strong. Vonn, who missed the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi because of a right knee injury, has won her last three World Cup downhills, including two gold medals this past weekend in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Shiffrin has won five of the seven women's slalom events she has participated in this season, but it should be noted that Shiffrin did not finish her second run in a World Cup slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland on Jan. 28. 

In addition to slalom, Shiffrin should end up on the podium in women's giant slalom. She won the silver medal, behind Tessa Worley of France, at the 2017 FIS World Championships in St. Moritz, finished second in the World Cup women's giant slalom standings in 2017 and is third behind Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany and Worley in the 2018 World Cup women's giant slalom standings. 

On the men's side, Steven Nyman won the bronze medal in a World Cup in Jeongseon, South Korea in 2016, however he tore his ACL while training in Germany last week and will not participate at the Olympic Winter Games. The loss of Nyman means that Weinbrecht and two-time Olympic gold medalist Ted Ligety (giant slalom in Sochi and alpine combined in Turin) will lead the American men. 

There will also be a new event in alpine skiing at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. It is team alpine skiing, which should be extremely exciting. Each nation has four skiers on their team--two men and two women. Skiers go down a slalom run and generate a point if they beat their opponent down the hill. If there is a tie between the two countries at two wins apiece, the team with the fastest combined time wins.

The star of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang could be Marcel Hirscher of Austria. He enters the Olympic Winter Games as the gold medal favourite in the men's slalom, giant slalom and combined. No male skier has ever won all three events at a single Olympic Winter Games. Janica Kostelic of Croatia won the women's slalom, giant slalom and combined at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. 

Here are my Olympic predictions in alpine skiing:

Men's Downhill:
GOLD--Beat Feuz--Switzerland
SILVER--Kjetil Jansrud--Norway
BRONZE--Dominik Paris--Italy
Event: Feb. 14 @ 9 pm ET/6 pm PT

Men's Super Giant Slalom:
GOLD--Kjetil Jansrud--Norway
SILVER--Matthias Mayer--Austria
BRONZE--Aleksander Aamodt Kilde--Norway
Event: Feb. 15 @ 9 pm ET/6 pm PT

Men's Slalom:
GOLD--Marcel Hirscher--Austria
SILVER--Henrik Kristoffersen--Norway
BRONZE--Andre Myhrer--Sweden
Event: Feb. 21--Run 1 @ 8:15 pm ET/5:15 pm PT; Run 2 @ 11:45 pm ET/8:45 pm PT. 

Men's Giant Slalom:
GOLD--Marcel Hirscher--Austria
SILVER--Henrik Kristoffersen--Norway
BRONZE--Alexis Pinturault--France
Event: Feb. 17--Run 1 @ 8:15 pm ET/5:15 pm PT; Run 2 @ 11:45 pm ET/8:45 pm PT. 

Men's Alpine Combined:
GOLD--Marcel Hirscher--Austria
SILVER--Alexis Pinturault--France
BRONZE--Mauro Caviezel--Switzerland
Event: Feb. 12--Downhill @ 9:30 pm ET/6:30 pm PT; Slalom @ 1 am ET (Feb. 13)/10 pm PT (Feb. 12). 

Women's Downhill:
GOLD--Lindsey Vonn--United States
SILVER--Sofia Goggia--Italy
BRONZE--Tina Weirather--Liechtenstein
Event: Feb. 20 @ 9 pm ET/6 pm PT

Women's Super Giant Slalom:
GOLD--Lara Gut--Switzerland
SILVER--Tina Weirather--Liechtenstein
BRONZE--Nicole Schmidhofer--Austria
Event: Feb. 16 @ 9 pm ET/6 pm PT 

Women's Slalom:
GOLD--Mikaela Shiffrin--United States
SILVER--Frida Hansdotter--Sweden
BRONZE--Wendy Holdener--Switzerland
Event: Feb. 15-- Run 1 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT; Run 2 @ 11:15 pm ET/8:15 pm PT

Women's Giant Slalom:
GOLD--Tessa Worley--France
SILVER--Mikaela Shiffrin--United States
BRONZE--Viktoria Rebensburg--Germany
Event: Feb. 14-- Run 1 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT; Run 2 @ 11:45 pm ET/8:45 pm PT

Women's Alpine Combined:
GOLD--Wendy Holdener--Switzerland
SILVER--Michelle Gisin--Switzerland
BRONZE--Federica Brignone--Italy
Event: Feb. 22--Downhill @ 9pm ET/6 pm PT; Slalom @ 12:30 am ET (Feb. 23)/9:30 pm PT (Feb. 22)

Team Event:
Event: Feb. 23--First Round @ 9pm ET/6pm PT; Quarterfinals @ 9:45 pm ET/6:45 pm PT; Semi-Finals @ 10:10 pm ET/7:10 pm PT; Finals @ 10:28 pm ET/7:28 pm PT