You normally wouldn’t expect a 17-year-old to appear downtrodden after a podium finish on the World Cup at this point in the season. Most 17-year-olds, however, aren’t Mikaela Shiffrin.
In Ofterschwang, Germany, the American relinquished a her 33-point lead in the slalom standings, giving way to the one and only person who stands a chance at snatching up the globe. Tina Maze was in second after the first run, one-tenth of a second behind the pace of Shiffrin, who took the lead in the morning and usually doesn’t disappoint in the afternoon.
But the Slovenian is clearly on a mission. After becoming the first racer of either gender to surpass the single-season 2000 point mark set by Hermann Maier 13 years ago, Maze is storming through the final races of the season, undoubtedly now making a run for all five crystal globes.
With the win, Maze picked up 40 points on Shiffrin in the slalom standings, just enough to overtake the World Championship gold medalist, who now heads into the World Cup Final with 7 points to make up against the Slovenian.
“[The race] was really fun. It was really well done,” said Shiffrin. “It was unbelievable how the surface held up with all the workers working so hard on the hill. The surface felt like it wasn’t warm. … It was a dramatic difference between the warmup course and the race hill.
“I’m happy that I got a podium today, looking at the positives, but I definitely wanted to win,” she added. “In the end, I’m just trying to ski my best. I didn’t quite do that second run. It just means I’m going to go back and look at my video and figure out what I can do better.”
Shiffrin said nerves weren’t a problem Sunday; the last time she felt any was World Championships.
“It’s just what I do every day. I’m used to the skiing,” said Shiffrin. “Sometimes I’m not sure if I can make a great run happen, first run or second run, but it all comes together.”
As for the slalom title: “I’m just going to go as hard as I can and see if I can get it back. If not, I’m still happy. I’ve had an amazing season, so I can’t be disappointed. I’m definitely proud of myself but you can always want more. I always want more. … Tina has been having an amazing season, so that’s really cool and inspiring.”
It will all come down to the season finale Lenzerheide, where Shiffrin had a chance to train a couple weeks ago.
“It isn’t over ’til the fat lady sings,” said Shiffrin. “I know what the hill is like and I really like it. It’s always exciting to have it [come down to] the very last race. It’s important to the end.”
For Shiffrin, who will celebrate her 18th birthday this month, there are certain perks of maturity.
“I’ll be able to drive in Europe,” she said.
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup slalom, Ofterschwang, Germany, March 10, 2013
1 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
2 Holdener, Head/Head/Head
3 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
4 Gagnon, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Eklund, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
9 Hosp, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
10 Borssen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
Women’s World Cup slalom, Ofterschwang, Germany, March 10, 2013. … It is the 33rd of 37 races on the women’s schedule. … The eighth of nine scheduled slaloms and the tenth of 12 races counting for slalom points with two city events. … It is the 16th Cup race hosted by Ofterschwang. … the seventh slalom and sixth women’s slalom.
It is the 21st career World Cup win for Tina Maze. … her third in slalom. … It is her fourth straight podium result at Ofterschwang. … It is her 11 win of the season including one gold medal from World Championships. … It is her second slalom win of the season, the other coming at Maribor Jan. 27.
It is the first career World Cup podium for Wendy Holdener and her fifth top 10. … It is the sixth Swiss podium of the season and the second best single Swiss result this season (Lara Gut won the Val d’Isere DH Dec. 14).
It is the seventh career World Cup podium result for Mikaela Shiffrin. … the sixth in slalom plus one city event. … Six of those podiums, plus a World Championship have come this season.
It is the second best career result for Marie-Michele Gagnon coming a year to the day after her best, a third in slalom at Are. … It is the second time she has finished top five in slalom at Ofterschwang. … It is the fifth best career result for Anna Goodman. … and her only result this season.
Tina Maze leads the World Cup overall standings 2254-1065 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (DNF 1st). … She cannot be beaten for the title and extends her record point total. … Anna Fenninger (did not race) is third overall with 984pts. … Julia Mancuso is fourth overall with 835pts, Lindsey Vonn fifth with 740pts and Mikaela Shiffrin eighth with 698pts. … Marie-Michele Gagnon is top Canadian overall in 19th with 349pts. … Maze takes over the lead of the slalom standings 595-588 over Shiffrin with one race remaining. Veronika Velez Zuzulova is third with 471pts and cannot overtake either. … Erin Mielzynski is top Canadian in 13th with 177pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 4613-3381 over the US. … Germany is third with 2585pts and Canada ninth with 724pts. … Sweden leads the slalom standings 1236-1123 over Austria.
FIS World Cup
|Rank||Bib||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time|
|7||6||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK||55.91||59.00||1:54.91|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|64||SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena||1984||ARG|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|61||SIMARI BIRKNER Maria Belen||1982||ARG|
|56||GASIENICA DANIEL Agnieszka||1987||POL|