Mikaela Shiffrin barely denied in first bid to tie Alpine skiing World Cup wins record
Mikaela Shiffrin was denied in her first bid to tie the Alpine skiing World Cup wins record by six hundredths of a second.
Shiffrin, trying to tie Ingemar Stenmark‘s 86 World Cup victories, led by 67 hundredths over German Lena Duerr after the first of two slalom runs in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, on Sunday.
The last racer to go in the second run, Shiffrin’s lead over Duerr dwindled as she neared the finish line. It was down to 15 hundredths at the last intermediate split with 10 seconds left of the course.
Shiffrin crossed the finish line, saw that she ended up six hundredths behind, opened her mouth, rocked her head and put her hand to her helmet. It was the closest slalom runner-up of her career, which has included a record 52 World Cup slalom victories.
“I felt like the first run I skied really well, and I actually skied quite well in the second as well,” Shiffrin told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “Six tenths is not actually so much time. ... Lena has been strong all season, and she deserves to win.”
Duerr, 31, earned her second World Cup win, 10 years to the day after her first. Shiffrin won 82 World Cup races in that span.
“It took me a while,” Duerr said. “Crazy that today’s the day.”
Shiffrin’s next bid to tie Stenmark, the Swedish legend of the 1970s and ‘80s, won’t be until March.
Next up are the world championships in France, starting Feb. 6, which are separate from the World Cup.
Shiffrin’s next planned World Cup races are either speed races in Kvitfjell, Norway, the first weekend of March or a giant slalom and slalom in Stenmark’s home nation at Åre, Sweden, from March 10-11 ahead of her 28th birthday on March 13.
“I don’t have any expectations going into it,” said Shiffrin, whose first World Cup win came in Åre in 2012. “It’s just like every race of the season, just trying to take it all in and enjoy my skiing, enjoy when the other athletes are skiing better, too, because there’s always some to learn from that.”
Shiffrin began last week tied with Lindsey Vonn for second place on the career wins list at 82. She then rattled off victories on Wednesday and Thursday in giant slaloms in Kronplatz, Italy, and Saturday in the first slalom in Spindleruv Mlyn, site of her World Cup debut in 2011 at age 15.
She has 11 wins in 23 starts this season, her best campaign since her record 17-win 2018-19 season.
She did break one record on Sunday -- clinching her seventh World Cup slalom season title, and first since 2019, with two races left in the discipline.
She broke her tie with Vreni Schneider, a Swiss star of the 1980s and ‘90s, for most women’s World Cup slalom season titles. Stenmark won eight and is tied with Vonn (downhill) for the most season titles in any discipline.
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