It’s getting harder and harder to come up with superlatives to describe American ski star Mikaela Shiffrin.
How about “historic”?
Shiffrin, 23, has been on the World Cup tour just eight years and now has 50 wins and 70 medals, including seven wins this season … and she could have nine wins by New Year’s Eve!
In Courchevel (FRA), where she was the defending champion from 2017, Shiffrin was second in the Giant Slalom after the first run, but on a shorter track for the second run, she ripped through the snow for the best second run in the field and had the best time in the field by 0.22. That moved her into the winner’s circle by 1:49.81-1:49.95 over Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg for World Cup win no. 49.
Saturday’s Slalom was the reverse: Shiffrin led after the first run and had the third-fastest second run to win by 0.29 over Slovenia’s Petra Vlhova, the fourth race this season in which they have finished 1-2 in a World Cup Slalom. Shiffrin was well aware that she was in line for her 50th career win.
“I was trying as hard as I could not to focus on that today because it’s so distracting to think about those numbers for me and it’s always a mental battle just to focus on my skiing,” Shiffrin said. “I’m really happy, and maybe a bit lucky today with the win again. I was watching the first run; Petra skied better than I did. I don’t know how I snuck away with the lead on the first run, but it was a big battle … so I’m lucky and I’m grateful.”
In the 2018-19 season, Shiffrin has now won an astonishing seven of 13 races on the tour! All-time, she’s now no. 4 in women’s race wins … at age 23:
82 Lindsey Vonn (USA) ~ 2001-present
62 Annemarie Moser-Proell (AUT) ~ 1969-80
55 Vreni Schneider (SUI) ~ 1984-95
46 Renate Goetschl ((AUT) ~ 1993-2009
Shiffrin also won her 35th World Cup Slalom, which ties her for the all-time lead in the discipline with Austria’s Marlies Schild (2001-14).
And she’s not done! There is another Giant Slalom-Slalom set on 28-29 December in Semmerling (AUT), so she could take the Slalom record for herself this coming week.
The most race wins in a single season? 14 by Schneider in 1989; if Shiffrin wins both races this week, she could be at nine … before New Year’s! She won 12 World Cup races last year and 11 the season before.
FIS Alpine World Cup
Courchevel (FRA) ~ 21-22 December 2018
(Full results here)
Women’s Giant Slalom: 1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA), 1:49.81; 2. Viktoria Rebensburg (GER), 1:49.95; 3. Tessa Worley (FRA), 1:50.14; 4. Federica Brignone (ITA), 1:50.26; 5. Ragnhild Mowinckel (NOR), 1:50.31.
Women’s Slalom: 1. Shiffrin (USA), 1:36.72; 2. Petra Vlhova (SVK), 1:37.01; 3. Frida Hansdotter (SWE), 1:37.09; 4. Wendy Holdener (SUI), 1:37.86; 5. Katharina Liensbeeger (AUT), 1:38.02. Also: 15. Paula Moltzan (USA), 1:40.12.