Shiffrin Reigns as Snow Queen in Zagreb
All eyes are on American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin this season, but the pressure does not seem to be shaking her. Under the lights in Zagreb, Croatia, the slalom star took her 38th World Cup win, and her third at the venue, regaining the Snow Queen title.
Shiffrin attempts to ignore statistics like winning streaks and rankings because they make her more nervous. These days, there is a lot to ignore. For example, she has won three slalom races in a row now–something Shiffrin has not done since she won six in a row between Feb. and Dec. of 2016.
In addition, at 22 years old, she already has the sixth most wins of all time amongst women. Retired Swedish skier Anja Paerson is in fifth place with 42 victories. At age 33, American Lindsey Vonn currently holds the record for all-time wins on the ladies’ side with 78 victories. No one can predict Shiffrin’s future, but if these trends continue, it’s not hard to imagine her overtaking her teammate.
Doing something like that means she’ll need to stay healthy and strong. Despite a exhausting schedule of travel, training and winning races, the American said her energy levels are up.
“Right now, I’m finding it easy to keep the energy going because every time I have a good race I want to do better, and I want to get better skiing out on the hill, and I’m just finding the motivation very easily right now, so it’s pretty cool,” she shared. “I don’t have to try so hard to find energy or find motivation.”
As they ladies’ head into more tech races in Kranjska Gora, Shiffrin is focused on turning her momentum into more superb skiing. Meanwhile, the field will be trying to catch her, just as they were in Zagreb.
Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was unable to get close to her in Wednesday’s race, taking second place by a 1.59 second margin.
“It was a fight, and I’m happy to be second,” she said.
Despite the Swiss skier’s 13 World Cup podium results, victory eludes her. Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter was even farther away from the win, 2.11 seconds off the pace.
“I still feel like I have more to give and I don’t really get the skiing I do in training, so I still have to do a little bit of work,” the Swede shared.
Shiffrin was not the only North American to have a notable performance in the first slalom of 2018. Canadians Erin Mielzynski and Roni Remme each had season-best results. Mielzynski, a veteran on tour, earned her first top-1o result since Dec. 2016 and qualified for the Canadian Olympic team. She also won the second run.
“It feels really good to be back in the top ten,” said Mielzynski. “It’s a relief. I’ve made a lot of changes to my skiing and it’s been hard to find that race pace and really go for it. Today was a relief but what’s nice to know is that I still have parts of my to improve and I still did well. I find confidence in this result and in the process. Sometimes you question the process, but the coaches and I are staying on the same track and today shows that the whole team is doing the right thing. I made some mistakes on the top but the bottom I really made up some time and it’s something to build on.”
Remme, who currently leads the NorAm overall standings, skied to 11th place and a career-best result, just 0.01 seconds away from joining her teammate in the top 10. The young Canadian has scored World Cup points in both of the slalom races she started in.
“I’m pretty excited with the momentum I’m creating here,” said Remme. “I haven’t reached my full potential yet and with mistakes I’m still in the position to succeed. I’m excited to keep pushing for more. I’ll take the confidence from today that I can compete with these girls and keep improving every run and every race.”
Three spots behind Remme was the U.S. Ski Team’s Resi Steigler in 14th place, earning her best result of the season so far. Fellow countrywomen Nina O’Brien and Megan McJames did not finish the first run.
The women’s World Cup tour is now off to Slovenia for a slalom and GS at Kranjska Gora.
1. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
2. Wendy Holdener (SUI) – Head / Head / Head
3. Frida Hansdotter (SWE) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
4. Petra Vlhova (SVK) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
5. Bernadette Schild (AUT) – Head / Head / Head
6. Katharina Gallhuber (AUT) – Atomic / Atomic / Atomic
7. Erin Mielzynski (CAN) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
8. Katharina Liensberger (AUT) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
9. Melanie Meillard (SUI) – Rossignol / Look / Rossignol
10. Anna Swenn Larsson (SWE) – Head / Head / Head
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time||Diff.||FIS Points||WC Points|
|10||20||506146||SWENN LARSSON Anna||1991||SWE||56.58||59.83||1:56.41||+3.34||21.27||26|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|63||6535773||O BRIEN Nina||1997||USA||0|
|56||425921||HAUGEN Kristine Gjelsten||1992||NOR||0|
|51||426100||HOLTMANN Mina Fuerst||1995||NOR||0|
|24||197319||BAUD MUGNIER Adeline||1992||FRA||0|