American AJ Hurt earns first Alpine skiing World Cup podium

AJ Hurt
AJ Hurt

American AJ Hurt made her first Alpine skiing World Cup podium in her 61st start, placing third in a slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Sunday.

Hurt, 23, rallied from 16th place after the first run by posting the fastest second run.

Olympic gold medalist Petra Vlhova of Slovakia won by 72 hundredths of a second over German Lena Duerr combining times from both runs. Hurt was 87 hundredths behind.

Hurt, a Carnelian Bay, California, native, came into this season with a best World Cup finish of 18th in a giant slalom. She then was ninth and 11th in a pair of GS races in December. Her best slalom finish before Sunday was 25th.

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Hurt became the third American to make a World Cup slalom podium in the last 11 years after Mikaela Shiffrin (who has a female record 80 slalom podiums) and Paula Moltzan, who had one runner-up finish last season.

Earlier Sunday, Shiffrin straddled a gate and didn’t finish the first run.

Racing in falling snow, Shiffrin trailed Vlhova by 47 hundredths at the first checkpoint before her left ski went on the wrong side of a gate 24 seconds into her run.

It was a rare mishap for Shiffrin, who last straddled a gate in a World Cup race in the second run of a slalom on the same hill in Slovenia in January 2022, a month before the Beijing Olympics.

Shiffrin has been fighting a cold this week and finished ninth in Saturday’s GS. She then skipped the mandatory public bib draw for Sunday’s race.

After skiing out, Shiffrin congratulated Vlhova with a fist bump when she passed the leader’s seat.

All six slaloms this season have been won by either Shiffrin or Vlhova.

The women's Alpine World Cup moves next weekend to Zauchensee, Austria, for two super-Gs and a downhill, live on Peacock.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.