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Mikaela Shiffrin earns emotional 94th World Cup win, ties podium record

Mikaela Shiffrin called her 94th Alpine skiing World Cup win a “really emotional” victory after spending time this weekend visiting boyfriend Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who was injured in a downhill race crash Saturday.

“I went into the race last night with the thought, ‘If you’re gonna be here now, instead of with him, then you better make it worth it,’” Shiffrin posted on social media.

She prevailed by 27 hundredths of a second over Olympic gold medalist Petra Vlhova of Slovakia combining times from two runs Tuesday night in Flachau, Austria. Sara Hector, the Olympic giant slalom champion from Sweden, was third, 1.11 seconds behind.

Shiffrin trailed Vlhova by seven hundredths after the first run, then posted the second-fastest second run on a course set by the U.S. head coach. Vlhova, the last skier to go, increased her lead to 21 hundredths in the second run with 31 seconds left on the course before a late slip up around one gate.

ALPINE SKIING: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Shiffrin appeared to acknowledge Vlhova’s recovery skills as they embraced in the finish area. “That was incredible,” Shiffrin could be heard saying.

“A lot of mistakes,” Vlhova told Austrian broadcaster ORF. “If you want to win right now, you need a perfect run.”

Shiffrin skipped last weekend’s speed races in Austria to fully recover from a cold. She then spent part of the weekend in Switzerland visiting Kilde. The Norwegian crashed into netting at more than 60 miles per hour, dislocated a shoulder, had a cut in his calf, underwent three hours of surgery on his leg and is expected to return next season.

“I can’t even put into words how much joy and energy Aleks brings into my life,” Shiffrin posted Wednesday morning. “Watching him get torn apart in Wengen from the TV, then airlifted, rushing with my family to get to him while he went straight into surgery…and then finally seeing him as he was waking up hours later, confused and just repeating “I f*ed myself up so bad”…I don’t even know how to explain this, but it made me want to burn down the universe.”

Shiffrin wiped away tears in her first interview a few minutes after the race, thanking her team for helping her get to Kilde.

“The last three days it feels like I lived a lifetime,” she told ORF later. “Actually, right now I just want to call Aleks.”

Shiffrin is up to 57 World Cup victories in slalom alone, 17 more than the next-best skier, Ingemar Stenmark, a Swedish legend of the 1970s and ‘80s. Shiffrin also picked up an 81st World Cup slalom podium, tying Stenmark’s record.

Her 148 World Cup podiums across all races is second in history behind Stenmark’s 155.

Shiffrin, who last season broke Stenmark’s record of 86 career World Cup wins across all disciplines, is up to six victories this season through 20 of 43 scheduled races.

Six more will get her to 100 career World Cup victories, a number eclipsed by just one athlete across all Winter Olympic sports — Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjørgen, who won 114 World Cups during a career that also saw her earn the most Winter Olympic medals in history (15).

“I guess on paper it’s possible,” Shiffrin said of 100 in December. “I don’t believe it will happen this season.”

The women’s Alpine World Cup moves this weekend to Jasna, Slovakia, for a giant slalom and slalom, streaming on for subscribers. Shiffrin won the last two slaloms held there in 2016 and 2021.