Skier Shiffrin enters new dimension with 50th slalom win
SEMMERING, Austria (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin made ski racing history once again on Thursday night.
This time, however, she wasn’t the only American skier doing so.
Shiffrin led teammate Paula Moltzan for the U.S. ski team’s first 1-2 finish in a women’s World Cup slalom since 1971.
And Shiffrin’s win in the night race made her the first ski racer with 50 World Cup wins in a single discipline. No other skier, female or male, has won an event more than 46 times in the 56-year World Cup history.
The result also marked Shiffrin’s 80th World Cup win overall — two short of Lindsey Vonn’s women’s record.
“I honestly have no idea, I have no idea what to say about that,” Shiffrin said about her personal best marks. “But one thing that is easy to say: U.S. 1-2 in slalom, that is amazing. That is unbelievable.”
Building on a big first-run lead of more than seven-tenths of a second, Shiffrin overcame several mistakes in her final run on the deteriorating course to finish 0.29 ahead of Moltzan, who had her first career podium in the discipline.
“Paula had a ripping run, I saw that from the start. I thought she might win this race. It’s so special to share a podium with her,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t have much to say about 80, I don’t know what to say.”
Moltzan achieved her career best with her parents watching from the stands at Semmering.
“I obviously couldn’t be more proud of myself and the whole team, and even better to do it in front of my parents,” said Moltzan, who previously had a second-place finish in a parallel event two years ago.
“So, we made history. We have a big team and all the girls are so fast, so it will only be days or weeks until they are really showing exactly what they can do on the hill, as well.”
Germany’s Lena Dürr was 0.34 behind in third, followed by Shiffrin’s biggest rivals in slalom, Petra Vlhová and Wendy Holdener, who were the only other racers within a second of the winning time.
Shiffrin can match her former teammate Vonn’s achievement of 82 World Cup wins next week, when two slaloms are scheduled in Zagreb, Croatia.
Only Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark won more races than Vonn and Shiffrin, with 86.
“I stopped wishing for things about three years ago,” Shiffrin said about the possibility of breaking Vonn’s record. “I am just here for the skiing, being able to do it with my teammates, and the amazing crowd and amazing people around, I couldn’t even dare to wish for that.”
Shiffrin has won six races this season, including the last four: last week’s super-G in St. Moritz and two giant slaloms over the last two days.
Adding to its usual schedule of a GS and a slalom, Semmering this time hosted a giant slalom that was canceled in another Austrian resort, Sölden, in October.
Shiffrin also won all three events the previous time the resort near the capital Vienna staged races on three consecutive days, in December 2016.
Shiffrin extended the overall record for most wins a single discipline to 50 in slalom on Thursday.
She laid the foundation for her triumph in the opening run, where she was more than seven-tenths of a second faster than her closest challenger, Anna Swenn Larsson. The Swede struggled in her second run and dropped to shared sixth position with Croatian prodigy Zrinka Ljutic.
“I felt really good. I was firing, so that was a very, very good run and, to be honest, it was just a pleasure to ski,” Shiffrin said after the opening run.
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