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Mikaela Shiffrin wins 85th World Cup, can tie overall record Sunday

Mikaela Shiffrin

KRONPLATZ, ITALY - JANUARY 25: Mikaela Shiffrin of Team United States takes 1st place during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom on January 25, 2023 in Kronplatz, Italy. (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

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Mikaela Shiffrin earned her 85th World Cup win on Saturday and can tie the Alpine skiing World Cup victories record on Sunday.

Shiffrin won the first of back-to-back slaloms in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, site of her World Cup debut in 2011 at age 15, for her 11th victory in 22 starts this season.

She prevailed by six tenths of a second over German Lena Duerr combining times from two runs. Then she celebrated with an uncharacteristic shoulder shimmy before “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner began playing over loudspeakers in the finish area.

It’s not the first time that song has been played after a Shiffrin victory this season.

“I don’t feel a lot of pressure to get this record because now I’m so close that it’s, like, just take a breath and enjoy the moments we’re in now,” she said. “It’s unbelievable to me how this season has gone already, and I’m trying to take the moment to enjoy it. FIS [International Ski Federation] posted on Instagram, ‘Is she going to do it this weekend?’ Finally, I saw all the comments, and people were like, ‘We don’t care. We just want to see good skiing.’ I was like, ‘Oh, finally people get it.’ I’m not worried about it. It might not happen tomorrow.”

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Shiffrin, having her best season since her record 17-win campaign in 2018-19, is now one victory shy of the Alpine World Cup record held by Swede Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86 times between slalom and giant slalom in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Stenmark has held the record since January 1982.

Shiffrin races in another slalom on Sunday in Spindleruv Mlyn, the last women’s race before February’s world championships. World championships races do not count as World Cups. The World Cup season resumes following worlds in late February.

“I’m always trying to think about everything else except these numbers because they just make me nervous,” she said. “I don’t have a reason to be nervous if I achieve 86 or 87 because I shouldn’t be in this position in the first place. So it’s only positives, but for sure everybody asks and then I feel pressure to do it, and then I don’t enjoy the races so much, but today it was just an amazing day. From the moment I woke up, I felt good.”

Shiffrin is on her second winning streak this season and has won nine of her last 14 races dating to Dec. 18. Last Tuesday, she won a giant slalom in Kronplatz, Italy, to break her tie with Lindsey Vonn for the women’s Alpine World Cup wins record. On Wednesday, she won another GS In Kronplatz.

She leads the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in ski racing, by more than 600 points through 27 of 39 scheduled races. At this rate, she could clinch her fifth overall title before March’s World Cup Finals.

She is currently tied with Vonn for the second-most women’s overall titles behind Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll, who won five in the 1970s.

“I’m barely making it through tomorrow before I need a couple of days off,” Shiffrin said.

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