Mikaela Shiffrin stands atop the podium in Semmering. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Laurent Salino)
SEMMERING, Austria (Dec. 29, 2017) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) put together a brilliant, come-from-behind second run to sweep the tech series at Semmering and take her seventh-straight Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom victory.
Mikaela Shiffrin skis to her third win in three days. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Laurent Salino)
After winning both giant slaloms Tuesday and Wednesday, Shiffrin came into Thursday's slalom looking for the sweep. She only led by .09 seconds over Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia after first run and Velez Zuzulova put down a seemingly unbeatable second run. Right out of the gate, Shiffrin made a big mistake and fell behind by over three-tenths at the middle split, leading the crowd to believe she gave away the win. But she let her skis run in the bottom half of the course, surprising the fans by taking the victory by .64 seconds.
“Every gate I thought I was giving it away,” said Shiffrin. “I felt like I was fighting and I’m proud of that. I was trying to ski fast and have some fun.”
Velez Zuzulova finished second and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener was third.
Shiffrin also stated that she was feeling sick, and not quite like herself. “I’m still searching to have a perfect run and a really fast run and put one of my best runs of training in there,” Shiffrin said. “Sometimes it’s better to fight and I did that today. I’m happy.”
Shiffrin celebrates her win. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Laurent Salino)
It was Shiffrin’s 26th career victory and puts her on track to win her eighth slalom in a row in Zagreb on January 3. That would tie her with the record eight-race slalom win streak held by Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider and Croatia’s Janica Kostelic. Shiffrin also became the first racer since record-holder Schneider to win three tech races on the same hill within three days.
But when Shiffrin was asked how she felt about being iconic in the sport of ski racing, she laughed. “I’m just a 21-year-old girl!” said Shiffrin. “Everybody has to stop telling me these things. I’m just trying to ski."
Mikaela Shiffrin won the Semmering slalom by .64 seconds.
It was her third win at Semmering in three days: two giant slaloms and one slalom.
Shiffrin is one away from tying the record of eight-straight slalom wins held by Vreni Schneider (1988-89) and Janica Kostelic (2000-01).
Shiffrin has won the last 12 World Cup slalom races that she started.
Shiffrin also became the first racer since record-holder Schneider to win three tech races on the same hill within three days.
Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY) and Megan McJames (Park City, UT) did not finish first run. Lila Lapanja (Alpine Village, NV) did not qualify for second run.
Road to Aspen: Shiffrin leads the overall World Cup standings with 798 points. Lara Gut is currently in second place with 583 points.
Next, the tech women head to Zagreb for another night slalom on January 3.
Shiffrin celebrates with her team. (Erich Spiess)
QUOTES Mikaela Shiffrin I felt like I was fighting and I’m proud of that. I was trying to ski fast and have some fun. I’m still searching to have a perfect run and a really fast run and put one of my best runs of training in there. Sometimes it’s better to fight and I did that today. I’m happy.
I was trying to think about how Marcel Hirscher or Henrik (Kristoffersen) would ski it and I don’t think I came close to that, but I was trying to channel that energy. It took me a while to get balanced in the course. I was getting stuck and thinking I was maybe going to fall over, and I didn’t, so that was good.
[On becoming a legend in ski racing] I’m just a 21-year-old girl! Everybody has to stop telling me these things. (laughs) I’m just trying to ski.