In a victory reminiscent of her come-from-behind performance at the World Championships, Mikaela Shiffrin proved she truly is the best slalom racer in the world Saturday, skiing a fiery second run to claim her first crystal globe and put an exclamation point on an historic season.
Do you think she’ll have anything to talk about with David Letterman on Tuesday?
The now-18-year-old superstar sat in fourth position after the first run behind Bernadette Schild, Kathrin Zettel and Tina Maze, who held a 0.58-second advantage over the field heading into the afternoon (1.17 over Shiffrin).
The stakes were high. With Maze leading Shiffrin in the World Cup slalom standings by seven points, it was winner take all in Lenzerheide.
Shiffrin kicked out fourth-to-last, reflecting her first-run finish position, and looked shaky out of the start, her skis breaking away in the first 15 or 20 turns of the race. But as she often does, Shiffrin quickly found her legs and absolutely annihilated the midsection and lower part of the course to take the lead.
Asked how she stayed so calm, Shiffrin said, “I wasn’t. I was freaking out.”
Maze, who came into these finals a contender for all five crystal globes and has already secured the overall, GS and super G titles, skied a bit too conservatively in her second effort, gradually losing pace on Shiffrin’s time. There were a couple small mistakes, but nothing that couldn’t have been overcome by a more aggressive top-to-bottom performance. The Slovenian ultimately slipped back to third on the day, 0.35 seconds behind Shiffrin and 0.15 behind Bernadette Schild, who is filling in nicely for her injured older sister.
“I’m very full of emotions,” said Shiffrin. “A lot went on today. It’s a little bit crazy. … I was a second behind, and then I don’t even know what happened. I tried to find the zone.
“Straight after the first run, I went to the athletes’ tent and tried to figure out what I needed to do to make it better. It’s hard to do that between runs in a race, but my mom and dad helped. My coaches helped. I asked everybody around me. They all said the same thing: You have to let it go, you cannot hold back because there is nothing to lose.”
It was emotional for both the globe winner and runner-up, as each had to take a moment to compose themselves and process what had transpired. The final slalom point tally for the season is Shiffrin 688, Maze 655, and Veronika Velez Zuzulova rounded out the top three with an even 500.
Shiffrin said winning the title was her goal from the beginning of the season. The World Championships were “the cherry on top of the cake, but this is what I was really shooting for all season, to be consistently one of the top slalom skiers. So this means a lot to me.”
Story by Geoff Mintz
Photos by GEPA
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup slalom, Finals, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 16, 2013.
1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Marker
4 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Holdener, Head/Head/Head
6 Mougel, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
8 Thalmann, Head/Head/Head
9 Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Mielzynski, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
Women’s World Cup slalom, Finals, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 16, 2013. … It is the 34th race of a 37 race schedule with two cancellations. … One race (GS) remains. … It is the ninth women’s slalom of nine scheduled this season. … It is the 31st Cup race hosted by Lenzerheide. … The eighth slalom.
It is the fourth career World Cup win for Mikaela Shiffrin, all in slalom and all this season. … She also won the slalom at the World Championships. … It is the 258th US Cup win. … The 62nd in slalom. … She ties Kiki Cutter for sixth among US Skiers for slalom wins. … Third among US women.
It is the first career World Cup podium result for Bernadette Schild. … It is her sixth top 10 result.
It is the 61st career Cup podium placing for Tina Maze. … her 14th in slalom. … It is her 27th podium of the season including three from World Championships.
It is the sixth career top 10 for Erin Mielzynski. … her fifth of the season.
Shiffrin wins the World Cup slalom title 688-580 over Maze. … Frida Hansdotter (2nd run DNF in race) is third with 440pts. … Mielzynski finishes 11th with 188pts. … Other North Americans include Marie-Michele Gagnon in 14th with 163pts, Brittany Phelan 29th with 65pts, Resi Stiegler 31st with 44pts, Elli Terwiel 34th with 36pts and Anna Goodman, 44th with 16pts. … It is the third US Cup slalom title after Phil Mahre in 1982 and Tamara McKinney in 1984. … No American has ever won two. … Maze has won the overall title and boosts her all-time point record to 2314. … Maria Hoefl-Riesch is second with 1101 and Anna Fenninger third with 984pts. … There are three Americans in the top 10 including Julia Mancuso in fourth with 835pts, Shiffrin in fifth with 798pts and Lindsey Vonn in seventh with 740pts. … Top Canadian is Gagnon in 20th with 349pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 4893-3481 over the US. … Germany is third with 2845. … Canada in ninth with 750pts.
FIS World Cup
|Rank||Bib||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time|
|9||2||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK||58.94||59.02||1:57.96|
|Disqualified 2nd run|
|Disqualified 1st run|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|