US ski star Mikaela Shiffrin returns from injury to win record-equaling eighth World Cup slalom season title

After six weeks out of the sport, ski star Mikaela Shiffrin made a triumphant return from injury to win a record-equaling eighth World Cup slalom season title in Åre, Sweden, on Sunday.

The win ties the American with Lindsey Vonn and Ingemar Stenmark, who both clinched eight crystal globes – the trophy for Alpine skiing World Cup season titles – in a single discipline. Austrian star Marcel Hirscher won eight overall season titles during his career, but not in a single discipline.

It was also Shiffrin’s 96th World Cup win of her career, extending the overall record she broke back in 2023.

The 28-year-old’s victory in Sweden came less than two months after she suffered a high-speed crash during a downhill event in Italy.

She was left with sprained knee ligaments, but Shiffrin previously told CNN Sport she was lucky to escape the incident with minimal damage given the impact the accident inflicted on her body.

“Thank you to my whole team for their patience, support, and motivation through this whole period,” Shiffrin posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, after Sunday’s victory.

“It could have gone a million different ways, but man I’m thankful that this is the way it went.”

Shiffrin returned to the sport after six weeks out injured. - Pontus Lundahl/TT News Agency/Reuters
Shiffrin returned to the sport after six weeks out injured. - Pontus Lundahl/TT News Agency/Reuters

Shiffrin showed no signs of rust as she won Sunday’s slalom event with an impressive performance – bursting out of the blocks with two lightning quick runs.

Her total time was 1.24 seconds quicker than second-placed Zrinka Ljutic of Croatia and 1.34 seconds faster than Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin in third.

The win will also offer some reprieve after a difficult few weeks.

As misfortune would have it, Shiffrin’s boyfriend Aleksander Aamodt Kilde also suffered a serious incident on the slopes just a few weeks before her own accident.

The Norwegian skier was involved in a horror crash during a World Cup downhill race in Switzerland, resulting in the two-time Olympic medalist suffering a dislocated shoulder, two torn shoulder ligaments and a gnarly laceration on his calf that needed urgent surgery due to nerve damage.

Shiffrin rushed to his side at the hospital and was with him when he woke up from surgery. The pair are now supporting each other with their respective rehabilitations. In truth, Kilde still has a long way to go before thinking about a return to the sport.

On Sunday, Kilde posted a message on X congratulating his girlfriend.

“Some of the best skiing I’ve seen,” he wrote, replying to a video of Shiffrin competing on Sunday. “Constantly in awe. I just can’t believe her.”

CNN’s Matias Grez contributed to this report.

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