SCHLADMING, Austria — If Mikaela Shiffrin had butterflies kicking out of her first World Championships slalom, she certainly didn’t show it on the race hill in Schladming Saturday.
The 17-year-old became the third youngest World Championship ladies’ slalom gold medalist in history, executing a superior all-around slalom performance against the world’s best. She became the first American woman to win the slalom in either a World Championships or Olympics since Barbara Cochran in 1972.
Shiffrin, third after the first run, crossed the finish line and was overwhelmed by the moment.
“I was thinking so many things, and I just can’t even remember it,” she said. “It was one of those things when everything was a blur, and that’s how you know it was good.”
Shiffrin said she was so nervous before her run, she couldn’t feel her legs. Apparently, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“I just tried to find my legs. They popped up out of nowhere. I was in the starting gate and I was like, ‘OK, there they are! You can go now!'”
It wasn’t a very challenging second-run course set by the Swedes — straight, flat in parts, not necessarily a tough test for these ladies. Earlier in the week, the women raced their GS championship on the men’s course, which is much steeper, but the FIS opted for the more subdued slope for today’s slalom.
In Shiffrin’s second run, the early turns out of the gate were superb. She was even on Kirchgasser’s pace at the first split (but ahead in the combined time), then after a slight mid-run lull, charged the lower half of the course to take a 0.22-second advantage.
It all came down to the final effort of first-run leader Frida Hansdotter, who ran last and held a slight advantage over Shiffrin at every split — until the finish. The Swede wound up third in the end.
For Kirchgasser, it was an emotional final performance before the passionate host-nation fans, as she charged the second run to secure a silver medal in this final women’s event of the Championships.
American Resi Stiegler, who fought back from a devastating kneed injury at the end of last season, was off her game in the first run, but thrilled with her performance in the second, which bumped her up from 27 to 22 on the day.
“I’ve been coming back from some injuries and finally putting some stuff together in training and a couple races before this,” said Stiegler. “So I really wanted to charge it. First run didn’t happen. … Second run, I knew I had nothing to lose. I should go all out. I did that, and it was good run for me. Now, I just hope I can take that into the next races and keep it going through next year.”
Story by Geoff Mintz
Photos by GEPA
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Championship slalom, Schladming, Austria, Feb 16, 2013
1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
4 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
5 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
6 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Velez-Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Zahrobska, Head/Head/Head
9 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
Women’s World Championship slalom, Schladming, Austria, Feb 16, 2013. … It is the ninth of ten events (plus the team event) and the final race for women. … It is the 65th World Championship slalom (not including Olympic races), the 33rd for women. … Marlies Schild is the defending champion. … The last American woman to win a World slalom title was Barbara Cochran with the ’72 Olympic gold in Sapporo.
It is the first World Championship medal for Mikaela Shiffrin and her second race, the first also at Schladming. … She is the youngest to win a World Championship since Diann Roffe won the GS crown in 1985 and the first American woman to win a World slalom title since Barbara Cochran in 1972. … It is her fourth victory of the season, all of them coming in slalom.
It is the first World Championship medal for Michaela Kirchgasser, though she has been fourth twice, in GS at Are (2007) and in combined here. … It is her second podium finish of the season, the previous coming in the city event at Munich Jan. 1.
It is the first World Championship medal for Frida Hansdotter. … She was fifth in the GS at this event. … It is her fifth podium result of the season all coming in slalom and the rest at second place finishes.
It is the second best of four World Championship finishes for Marie-Michele Gagnon. … She matches her seventh best result of the season. … It is the second World Championship result for Erin Mielzynski. … She finished one placing better in the same event at Garmisch (2011). … It is her sixth best result of the season. … It is the eighth best of nine World Championship results for Resi Stiegler. …
her second best finish of the season. … It is the first career World Championship result for Elli Terwiel. … her fourth finish of the season. … It is the first career World Championship result for Brittany Phelan. … Her eighth result of the season.
AUT – 6 – (gold, silver, silver, bronze, bronze, bronze)
USA – 5 – (gold, gold, gold, gold, bronze)
FRA – 4 – (gold, gold, silver, bronze)
SLO – 3 – (gold, silver, silver)
GER – 3 – (gold, bronze, bronze)
ITA – 3 – (silver, silver, bronze)
NOR – 2 – (gold, bronze)
SWE – 2 – (silver, bronze)
CRO – 1 – (silver)
SUI – 1 – (silver)
FIS World Ski Championships
|Rank||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time|
|7||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK||51.21||49.97||1:41.18|
|36||GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL||55.48||52.19||1:47.67|
|50||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG||58.15||55.79||1:53.94|
|55||VILHJALMSDOTTIR Helga Maria||1995||ISL||58.63||56.77||1:55.40|