Mikaela Shiffrin finished the decade with a fitting, record-breaking victory in Lienz, Austria, on the eighth anniversary of her first World Cup podium at the same venue.
Shiffrin won a slalom to make it back-to-back victories in the Austrian Dolomites after Saturday’s giant slalom triumph. She prevailed by .61 of a second over Slovakian Petra Vlhova. Swiss Michelle Gisin was third, 1.72 seconds behind.
“When I saw Petra go in the second run … I was like, oh, no, I can’t ski it that fast,” said Shiffrin, who led Vlhova by. 26 after the first run, then skied the finale immediately after Vlhova posted the then-fastest time in the second run. “She’s been one of the girls that when I’m skiing really well, she’s skied better, and not from luck.”
Vlhova is the only woman other than Shiffrin to win a traditional World Cup slalom in nearly three years, beating Shiffrin on four occasions (while Shiffrin won 19).
“It’s really difficult. She is all the time perfect, like today, she did both runs perfect,” Vlhova said. “Second place is good, but I always want to do better, but today she was the best.”
Shiffrin became the first man or woman to make 14 straight traditional World Cup slalom podiums (without sitting out a race), extending a streak that dates to the PyeongChang Olympics. Shiffrin won all but one of those slaloms.
With her 43rd World Cup slalom win, Shiffrin also tied Lindsey Vonn for the most victories in a single discipline for a woman. Vonn bagged 43 downhills. Swedish legend Ingemark Stenmark holds the overall mark with 46 giant slalom titles.
For the decade, Shiffrin earned 71 wins and 101 podiums in 182 races among the Olympics, world championships and the World Cup. That’s a winning percentage of 39 and a podium percentage of 55.
Those percentages increase if counting only slaloms and starting the time frame from Shiffrin’s first World Cup podium on Dec. 29, 2011 in Lienz.
Sunday also provided a winning end to an eventful year for Shiffrin, both on and off the course.
While she set a new best mark with 17 World Cup wins in the 2018-19 season and won two world titles, she moved into a new house and saw a two-year relationship with French skier Mathieu Faivre come to an end.
“I feel like I learned a lot, I feel like it’s been emotional. I have gone through a lot of changes and transitions in my life,” she said. “I feel like I grew up a lot this last year. I feel like I was 17 last year and all of a sudden I am 24.”
The women’s World Cup moves to Zagreb for another slalom on Saturday (10 a.m. ET, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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