Shiffrin denied chance to defend ski crown, races canceled

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin stands on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G, in Bansko, Bulgaria, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
United States' Mikaela Shiffrin stands on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup super-G, in Bansko, Bulgaria, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ARE – Mikaela Shiffrin will not get a chance to defend her overall ski title.

The last races of the women's Alpine skiing World Cup season were canceled Wednesday amid public health concerns related to the spread of the new coronavirus, handing Federica Brignone the overall title ahead of Shiffrin.

The decision to call off the three-day event in Are, Sweden, means Brignone becomes the first Italian women's overall champion in the 53-year history of the World Cup.

Shiffrin, the defending overall champion, had announced earlier Wednesday that she would compete at the event after taking a six-week break from the sport following the death of her father.

During her absence, Shiffrin lost her lead in the overall standings to Brignone, who is 153 points ahead of the American. There would have been a total of 300 points up for grabs in the last three races.

The International Ski Federation, FIS, announced the cancellation less than 24 hours before the first race, Thursday's parallel giant slalom.

Next week's World Cup finals for both women and men in Cortina d’Ampezzo had already been canceled because of the virus outbreak in northern Italy.

FIS also said three members of a sponsor support team at the World Cup were placed under quarantine after experiencing symptoms of the virus, with one member having tested positive.