At the U.S. Alpine Championships in Squaw Valley on Sunday, Mikaela Shiffrin demonstrated just how unreliable slalom racing can be.
The 2013 slalom World Champion and crystal globe winner held a 1.22-second lead after the first run. One would suspect Shiffrin would simply have to finish the second run to ski away with her third consecutive national title in the discipline — but finishing was a problem, as the 18-year-old straddled a gate halfway through her second run.
“I straddled,” said Shiffrin. “I just caught a little bit of a weird groove and pressured on the wrong spot and my ski went on the other side. It happens. … Everyone is going for it out there and it’s a great competition and a great way to end the season.”
Snatching up the win was this year’s NorAm slalom champion Anna Goodman, of Canada, who had retired from the World Cup and skied for Westminster this season. On a whim, she raced in Ofterschwang just before the World Cup Finals and finished 15th, winning the second run. Now, she’s expecting to make a comeback to World Cup racing in an attempt to qualify for the Olympics in Sochi.
“The first run, conditions were amazing. It was icy and perfect basically,” said Goodman. “The second run, it was a bit softer, but it was never bad the whole week. … I already planned to do World Cup next year, so I’ll just train a bit harder probably this summer and coach a lot and make another World Cup comeback next year.”
Goodman finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 45.94 seconds.
“For me, I was on the Canadian team for nine years, and I was just at the point where I needed to make a change,” Goodman said. “I kind of got stuck in a rut. Taking a step back and coaching really made me feel re-inspired and just more rested, too. … I think I’m skiing at my best, maybe I’ve skied this way before, but I’m definitely performing my best.”
Finishing second, Resi Stiegler, who battled back from another injury this season to earn a top-10 result in Zagreb, was leading American on the day.
“I’m so bummed. I didn’t think Mikaela was going to make a mistake,” said Stiegler. “So I was excited to come down in the top three, then I was a little bummed that I didn’t nick Anna at least, but it’s fun it was good group of girls and we have a really good time together.”
Stiegler finished with a combined time of 1:46.38, less than half a second behind Goodman.
“I’m really happy with how my season went off of the injury last year,” said Stiegler. “I just have to stay really positive because it wasn’t obviously the season that I wanted, but from an injury it was really good. It’s a good building block into next year because that’s the most important year.”
With a combined time of 1:48.10, Tonje Sekse of Norway rounded out the podium in a distant third place.
Story by Geoff Mintz
Photos by Susie Theis
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||FIS Points|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|27||107401||HEMPHILL Mary Beth||1994||CAN|