Mikaela Shiffrin breaks Ted Ligety, Lindsey Vonn records with combined world title
Mikaela Shiffrin won the super combined at the world Alpine skiing championships for an American record sixth world title and ninth career world medal, breaking records she shared with Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn.
Shiffrin prevailed by .86 of a second over Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swiss Michelle Gisin took bronze, .89 behind, combining times from super-G and slalom runs in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Shiffrin previously shared the American record for five world titles with the recently retired Ted Ligety. Last Thursday, she tied Vonn’s American record for total world medals with her eighth, a bronze in the super-G, her first speed race in more than one year.
Shiffrin has been playing catch-up all season. She went 300 days between races following her father’s Feb. 2 death and a preseason back injury. She went a full year between putting on super-G skis and only had four days of training in that discipline leading into worlds.
“When I was a little girl, and I wanted to be the best in the world, I wrote in my diary, ‘I want to be the best skier in the world,’” Shiffrin said. “I’ve done some things nobody’s done before, for sure. I’ve always been trying to just push the limit, push my own limit first, then trying to push the limit in the sport. I feel like, on my really good days, I’m doing that.”
Shiffrin has competed at seven Olympics or world championships and earned at least one gold at every one.
“I wouldn’t want to just be the next Lindsey Vonn because otherwise then I’m just copying someone and that’s as far as I’m ever going to get,” she said in the past. “I want to try and get farther than anybody’s ever gotten.”
Later Monday, Austrian Marco Schwarz was the surprise winner of the men’s combined. More on that here.
Shiffrin now owns Olympic or world titles in four of the five traditional Alpine skiing events -- super-G, giant slalom, slalom and combined -- only missing downhill (which she has won on the World Cup).
Only Swede Anja Pärson won Olympic or world gold medals in all five since the super-G was added in 1987. Pärson, the 2000s star, is now the only skier with more individual world titles than Shiffrin at standalone worlds in the modern era.
Shiffrin, racing the combined at worlds for the first time, trailed Italian Federica Brignone by .06 after the morning super-G. But Brignone, skiing first in the slalom, fell after the third gate.
Shiffrin then posted the fastest slalom time. Vlhova, Shiffrin’s primary slalom rival the last few seasons, was second-fastest in the slalom, but a significant .52 slower, boosting Shiffrin’s hopes for a record-extending fifth consecutive slalom world title on Saturday.
Gisin, who relegated Shiffrin to combined silver at the 2018 Olympics, went two spots after Shiffrin in the slalom. She drew within .02 of Shiffrin, the greatest slalom skier in history, at an early split before falling back.
“Mikaela showed us how it’s done,” Gisin said. “I couldn’t hold up to her quite yet, but maybe I’ll find some solutions for next Saturday [in the slalom].”
Swiss Wendy Holdener, the 2017 and 2019 World champion in the combined who was .97 behind after the super-G, fell in the same area as Brignone in the slalom.
Worlds continue Tuesday with the men’s and women’s parallel events. Shiffrin next races Thursday in the giant slalom, which she won at the 2018 Olympics.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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