The fastest men and women of the World Cup took to the slopes of the Hammarbybaken in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday night to decide the final individual parallel event of the World Cup season. The athletes made the short trip South to Stockholm from last week’s World Championships in Are, Sweden, which ended last Sunday.
The two top slalom skiers in the world, Austria’s Marcel Hirscher and the United States’ Mikaela Shiffrin, both had opportunities to clinch their respective slalom titles with good results on Tuesday. At the end of the night, Switzerland’s Ramon Zenhaeusern took the men’s race, repeating his win from last season’s Stockholm event, and Shiffrin emerged victorious for the women. Shiffrin sat out last season’s Stockholm parallel.
Mikaela Shiffrin won the third city event of her career in Stockholm, Sweden on Tuesday over Germany’s Christina Geiger. In her 14th win of the season, Shiffrin tied Switzerland legend Vreni Schneider for the record of most World Cup wins in a single season.
Shiffrin held off Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson by one one-hundredth of a second to advance to final, then again held off Germany’s Christina Geiger by the same amount of time in the first round of the big final. In the end, she beat out Geiger by 0.27 seconds to take her 57th World Cup win.
“This was my first time trying the double blocking technique and it worked really well. I was pretty excited for this one to see what would happen because I think with more of the girls trying this technique it can change the results a little bit,” said Shiffrin. “You can see who is consistent, who is fast, who can take the risk. I was consistent tonight and that was enough to win, but everyone is starting to get used to it. I think that’s what this style can do, you have to ski really well but it also takes away so much line that it really comes down to a close time. It’s on the edge of finishing because you’re taking so much risk and you can’t really see what’s going on.”
Geiger’s best result in the city event was back in Oslo earlier on in 2019 when she finished in seventh. Since, Geiger has consistently finished in the top 10 of each slalom race she has entered but has been unable to find the podium. The only other time Geiger has landed on the World Cup podium was in 2010, when she finished third in the slalom in Semmering.
The small final saw Sweden’s Swenn-Larsson and Frida Hansdotter go head-to-head on home soil. Hansdotter has competed in more city event’s than any other female on the circuit but was unable to overcome Swenn-Larsson, who captured the third-place podium by 0.35 seconds. Swenn-Larsson now has three career World Cup podiums under her belt, all of which she has earned in the 2018/19 season.
Shiffrin’s notorious competitor, Petra Vlhova, had a chance to stop Shiffrin from clinching the slalom overall title if she could finish in seventh position or better. But the Slovakian did not make it into the final rounds after skiing out after the jump in a match-up against Geiger, and just barely missed the mark, finishing in eighth overall. Now 203 points back from Shiffrin in the overall standings and with only one slalom race left in Spindleruv Mlyn before finals in Soldeu, Andorra, Vlhova will not be able to overcome Shiffrin in time.
On the men’s side, Hirscher and other top slalom skiers like Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen were both knocked out in the early rounds with Hirscher exiting in the quarterfinals and Kristoffersen being eliminated in the first round. This has been a trend in recent parallel events on the men’s side with top contenders in the traditional slalom discipline often not advancing past the early rounds of a parallel event.
Zenhaeusern has emerged as a force in the parallel in the last two seasons with the Swiss team relying on his prowess to win Olympic and World Championship gold in the parallel team event in 2018 and 2019. The tall slalom skier continued his dominance of the discipline on Tuesday, defeating hometown favorite, Sweden’s Andre Myhrer, in the finals after Myhrer failed to finish either of his runs as he approached the finish.
“Great ambiance again and a great crowd,” Zenhaeusern said after the race.”Again I am a little bit sorry for the Swedish crowd that I stole the victory from Andre because I know how it feels to do a good result at home. I hope Andre can continue his career and we have more tight battles here in Stockholm. I think I train parallel a little bit more than the others. I don’t like it when people say it’s because of my height because people don’t talk about Dominik Paris’ kilos in the speed events or that Hirscher is small and the perfect size for slalom. It’s not a model contest, at the end, it’s timing that counts and not the height or the weight.”
Austria’s Marco Schwarz, who won the only other city event contested this season last month in Oslo, Norway, defeated Switzerland’s Daniel Yule, who crashed out in the small final, to take third place.
The men now head to Bansko, Bulgaria, for combined, super-G, and giant slalom racing Feb. 22-24 and the women head to Crans Montana, Switzerland, for downhill and combined racing Feb. 21-24.
Women’s Top Four
- Mikael Shiffrin (USA)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Christina Geiger (GER)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Anna Swenn-Larsson (SWE)- Head/Head/Head
- Frida Hansdotter (SWE)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
For complete women’s FIS results, please click here.
Men’s Top Four
- Ramon Zenhaeusern (SUI)- Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Andre Myhrer (SWE)- Head/Head/Head
- Marco Schwarz (AUT)- Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Daniel Yule (SUI)- Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
For complete men’s FIS results, please click here.