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Mighty 90 for hometown hero Shiffrin

American thrills fans in Vermont with record-extending World Cup triumph

China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-28 09:31
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Mikaela Shiffrin is all smiles on the podium after winning the women's slalom at the Killington FIS World Cup event on Sunday in Killington, Vermont. The victory earned the 28-year-old American a record-extending 90th title on the elite circuit. [Photo/Getty Images via AFP]

American thrills fans in Vermont with record-extending World Cup triumph

KILLINGTON, Vermont — Mikaela Shiffrin has extended her record of World Cup wins to 90.

And she has done so in style.

The American two-time Olympic champion dominated a slalom on Sunday, pleasing the home crowd by posting the fastest time in both runs on the Superstar course and beating her Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova by 0.33 seconds.

"It's amazing to do this, especially here, with the home crowd," said Shiffrin, who is from Colorado but can almost consider Killington a hometown race because she honed her skills nearby at the Burke Mountain Academy as a teenager.

"It's just such a good vibe and there's a little extra intensity because we want this to be good for you guys to watch. I hope it was a good show," she addressed the spectators in a course-side interview.

Shiffrin was put to the test by a frenetic second run from Vlhova, the Olympic champion who led the race by more than a second with only the American left in the start gate.

Shiffrin lost half of her first-run lead of 0.28 seconds at the first split, but she gradually gained time on Vlhova again.

After crossing the finish, Shiffrin briefly bent forward before getting up and showing the crowd a few fist-pumps.

"It feels really good. It's amazing to race in front of this crowd no matter what. Being in a position to win is something different, that's really spectacular," she said.

Shiffrin collected her 90 wins from 254 starts on the World Cup since her 2011 debut on the circuit two days before her 16th birthday.

She won her first race at a slalom in Sweden in December 2012 and set the record for most World Cup wins across genders when passing Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark's tally of 86 in a race at the same resort in Sweden last March.

Sunday's result marked her 55th win in slalom; no other skier, male or female, has ever won more than 46 races in a single discipline.

Vlhova had won the first slalom of the season in Finland two weeks ago and held a clear lead over Shiffrin in the second race the next day, but then she straddled a gate and handed victory to the American.

On Sunday, however, Vlhova made Shiffrin work hard for the win.

"I'm satisfied with my second run," Vlhova said. "But first run, I didn't go well. I lost in the first run, but the second run was a good show. Mikaela, she was stronger than me."

Shiffrin has won six of the seven slaloms at the annual World Cup weekend on the East Coast, with her streak interrupted last year, when she led after the first run but finished fifth as Wendy Holdener and Anna Swenn Larsson shared the victory.

Before her second run on Sunday, Shiffrin recalled what happened last year.

"These kinds of moments, you can call it a disappointment ... those are the things that stick with me more than winning actually does. So, I always feel more doubt in myself than confidence, because of races like here last year. That's something that really fuels me," she said.

Holdener finished third this time, trailing Shiffrin by 1.37 seconds. Lena Duerr of Germany dropped from second to fourth.

Earlier, Shiffrin positioned herself for victory with an aggressive first run to lead Duerr by 0.19 seconds.

"I feel like I'm not playing with it as much as I want to, but it's really good, solid technique, it's really solid power," she said after the first run.

"There's somehow another percentage that I'm trying to push and trying to get back, but I think that was a really, really good first run."

Shiffrin's teammate Paula Moltzan finished eighth, over two seconds off the lead, and slalom world champion Laurence St-Germain of Canada placed 14th.

Lara Gut-Behrami, who won the giant slalom on the same course on Saturday, does not compete in the slalom discipline. Shiffrin ended that race in third.

The American extended her lead in the overall World Cup standings as she is aiming for a women's record-equaling sixth overall title this season.

The next women's World Cup races are two giant slaloms in Tremblant, Quebec, which is a new venue on the circuit.

Agencies via Xinhua





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