BEAVER CREEK, Colo. – In the final ladies’ event of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Mikaela Shiffrin did not disappoint fans who waited all week to watch her in her signature event, the slalom. She led after run one and held on to take her second consecutive world title, finishing 0.34 seconds ahead of perennial runner-up Frida Hansdotter and 0.77 seconds ahead of a resurgent Sarka Strachova.

It has been an exciting two days for the Americans after Ted Ligety defended his World Championship gold medal in giant slalom yesterday and then Shiffrin putting on a show once again today. The fan-packed stands and hillside were treated to a remarkable showing by the American teenager who demonstrated her nerves of steel and brought the American team its second gold and fifth medal of these home championships.

“It’s pretty crazy now that I think about it. It was just before my second run I was starting to convince myself how much I really wanted to win this race,” admitted Shiffrin. “Some of that was good, but then I was like stop it! Stop that! It’s about the process. It’s about the turns. So I kind of pulled myself together for this last bit. I’m happy. It’s nice to be in the green.”

Shiffrin led after run one on a turny, technical course, but the time gap was small over two of the fastest slalom skiers in the world, Hansdotter and Strachova. Shiffrin looked tentative out of the start on the second run, which was set with a much quicker tempo and had rewarded those athletes who risked the most, including the two who ran before her — Hansdotter sitting in the finish with the lead and Strachova in second. Shiffrin pushed out of the start and lost her 0.40-second advantage by the first interval and appeared to be giving the win to the Swede. But as she has done time and time again, she found her aggression and speed and was able to turn a 0.03-second deficit at the final interval into a 0.34-second advantage by the finish line.

“When I was at the beginning of my run I knew I was attacking but it was a little bit like a kind of conservative line. I knew I had to charge down here and try to use the groove a little bit. It seemed like people were taking it too conservative down here (on the bottom), so I think I made up a lot of time,” reflected Shiffrin. “But every single person I’ve seen so far (following the race), like 20 people, have said, ‘You’re killing me! You almost killed me!’ I’m like, it’s OK. It’s all under control.”

Hansdotter won her second consecutive World Championships medal after finishing third in Schladming in 2013. It is her 12th time finishing in the runner-up position in slalom over the course of her World Cup career. She skied a virtually flawless run and put the pressure on Shiffrin to deliver, but skied a bit too conservative on the bottom allowing Shiffrin to take advantage. Hansdotter leads the slalom World Cup standings over Shiffrin and today showed why she is tied with Swedish legends Pernilla Wiberg and Anja Paerson with two World Championship slalom medals.

“I’m super happy. I did two good runs, and Mikaela was hard to beat today. She was skiing so good, so I’m super happy with my silver medal,” said Hansdotter. “Schladming was my first time leading after first run, and it was a different situation for me. Today I felt more confidence at the start. But actually I was pretty nervous for the first run because everyone says you’re one of the favorites and it’s tough to have this pressure. But I’m happy that I took this medal.”

Bronze medalist Strachova made a name for herself at a young age as a big event skier when she won her first bronze medal in the 2005 World Championships in Santa Caterina before ever landing on a World Cup podium. She followed that up with two more World Championship medals — a gold in Are in 2007 and a silver in Val d’Isere in 2009. Her only two World Cup victories occurred in 2008 and 2009, both in Aspen. Then health problems delivered a blow for Strachova. A 2012 diagnosis of a benign brain tumor required surgery and left her doubting if she would be able to return to the sport, much less become competitive again. But she did come back and she came back big with her first podium in five years in December and then again today with her fourth World Championship medal.

“I had all the time the feeling that I should keep going, that I can be really fast again, that I can be on the top again. And I have such great support from my husband and from my team that it was a good decision. I’m really happy that I decided to continue,” said Strachova.

Canadian Erin Mielzynski has been on a bit of a comeback tour herself this season. After winning her one and only World Cup in 2012 and then following that up with a podium a year later, Mielzynski started putting pressure on herself and the DNFs started to pile up. Poor early season results pushed Mielzynski out of the top-30, but then she started to find her form again. She began to work her way back into the top group of slalom skiers and today she matched her best result of the season with a sixth-place finish, the best women’s slalom World Championship placing by a Canadian — ever.

“It’s been a tough couple of years. It’s been a lot of blows. I started the year tough, so a day like today is a big win for me and it’s exciting to come down into sixth. Any day in the top 15 is a good day,” said Mielzynski. “I was very nervous first run, but I found ways to kind of push them to the side and not really think about the result. Think about what I’m doing in my skiing, and that’s why I ski – it’s not the results. So I think that was an important step this year.”

Veronika Velez Zuzulova was within striking distance of the podium after winning the second run on a course set by her father. She moved from 10th on run one to ultimately end up fourth. Kathrin Zettel finished fifth for the best result of the day for the Austrians. It is the only women’s event the Austrian’s failed to medal in during these championships.

The results were mixed for the remaining four Americans competing. Fan favorite Resi Stiegler, who had been having a solid season after coming back from injury upon injury, was skiing without an ACL, after tearing it in a training run over a month ago. She tried to rehab and build up strength in her leg to be able to compete today before undergoing season-ending surgery, but did not have the confidence needed to be a contender and finished 35th on run one. Because of her injury she elected not to start run two and will unfortunately miss the remainder of the season.

“Having it happen again and again, that’s pretty difficult. For me, I know I can do it. Coming back isn’t the difficult part. It’s just wanting it so badly is pretty difficult because I want it so badly every single day. And it hasn’t been easy every single day,” said Stiegler. “That’s the hard part, reminding yourself that you do love it and that’s why you’re out there. And even if you’re not winning, it’s OK, because you do love skiing and that’s why you’re there.”

Paula Moltzan started first on the second run and skied to the ninth fastest time in the second leg to move up and finish 20th overall. It was a positive step in the right direction for one of the few members of the U.S. technical team. Hailey Duke and Megan McJames were the final two starters for the U.S. finishing 28th, and 38th, respectively.

The women return to World Cup action next weekend with a GS and slalom in Maribor, Slovenia.

Shiffrin will now return to Europe for the remainder of the World Cup season with some added confidence. She has three more slaloms left on the schedule to try and catch Hansdotter and win her third consecutive slalom globe. But for the long-term she hopes to find more consistency across both technical disciplines and bring her GS skiing up on par with slalom.

“I really hope that I can in the next couple of weeks, before our next race … get back to my GS and really try to take the next step because I feel like I’m so close. I feel pretty comfortable with my slalom,” said Shiffrin of her goals. “It’s nice to have the confidence … but I have to get there with my GS. So that’s kind of where I want to go.”

 

The Scoop

By Hank McKee

  1. Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  2. Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  3. Strachova, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
  4. Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  5. Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
  6. Mielzynski, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
  7. Thalmann, Head/Head/Head
  8. Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
  9. Noens, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
  10. Gagnon, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s World Championship slalom, Beaver Creek, Colo., Feb. 14, 2015:

  • It is the 10th of 11 events at the 2015 World Championships. … It is the 67th slalom in World Championship history. … The first was held in 1931, the first in the U.S. at Aspen in 1950. … The defending champion is Mikaela Shiffrin.
  • It is the second gold medal for Mikaela Shiffrin in four World Championship races. … and her second straight championship slalom.  She is just the third woman to win back-to-back World Championship slalom titles (Christl Cranz ’37, ’38 and ’39 and Janica Kostelic ’03, ’05).  She is the first female skier to win two world titles before turning 20 since Erika Hess in 1982. She also won the Olympic gold medal in slalom last season.
  • Winning margin is 0.34. … Top four skiers are within the same second. … Top six skiers within two seconds.
  • It is the second World Championship medal for Frida Hansdotter who won bronze in slalom at Schladming 2013.
  • It is the fourth World Championship medal for Sarka Strachova, each in slalom. … She won gold at Are 2007, silver at Val d’Isere 2009 and bronze at Santa Caterina 2005. … Those are the only four medals for the Czech Republic.
  • It is a career best World Championship result in an individual race for Erin Mielzynski and the best ever Canadian result in a women’s slalom. … one better than Anne Heggtveit in 1954 and two better than Nancy Greene in 1966. … It is the second best World Championship result for Marie-Michele Gagnon who placed eighth in GS at Schladming in 2013. … It is the first career placing in a World Championship for Paula Moltzan and for Hailey Duke. … It is the second career placing in a World Championship for Candace Crawford, who was one placing better in the GS on Feb. 12. … It is the fourth placing in a World Championship race for Megan McJames.
  • Medal count: Austria five gold, three silver, one bronze; Slovenia two gold, one silver; U.S. two gold, one silver, two bronze;  Switzerland one gold, two bronze; Canada two silver; Sweden one silver, two bronze; Norway one silver; Germany one silver, France one bronze, Czech Republic one bronze.

 

Results

 1  2  6535237 SHIFFRIN Mikaela 1995 USA  50.07  48.41  1:38.48  0.00
 2  4  505679 HANSDOTTER Frida 1985 SWE  50.47  48.35  1:38.82  +0.34  2.49
 3  6  155415 STRACHOVA Sarka 1985 CZE  50.51  48.74  1:39.25  +0.77  5.63
 4  12  705287 VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika 1984 SVK  51.25  48.17  1:39.42  +0.94  6.87
 5  3  55838 ZETTEL Kathrin 1986 AUT  51.10  48.40  1:39.50  +1.02  7.46
 6  18  106961 MIELZYNSKI Erin 1990 CAN  50.94  49.04  1:39.98  +1.50  10.97
 7  17  55977 THALMANN Carmen 1989 AUT  51.01  49.51  1:40.52  +2.04  14.91
 8  1  565243 MAZE Tina 1983 SLO  50.92  50.04  1:40.96  +2.48  18.13
 9  15  196806 NOENS Nastasia 1988 FRA  52.20  48.97  1:41.17  +2.69  19.67
 10  11  105269 GAGNON Marie-Michele 1989 CAN  51.62  49.79  1:41.41  +2.93  21.42
 11  9  425771 LOESETH Nina 1989 NOR  51.50  49.93  1:41.43  +2.95  21.57
 12  33  206487 WIESLER Maren 1993 GER  51.91  49.61  1:41.52  +3.04  22.23
 13  24  206355 DUERR Lena 1991 GER  52.16  49.38  1:41.54  +3.06  22.37
 14  5  505760 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria 1986 SWE  52.20  49.47  1:41.67  +3.19  23.32
 15  34  516334 CHABLE Charlotte 1994 SUI  52.72  49.01  1:41.73  +3.25  23.76
 16  14  296354 COSTAZZA Chiara 1984 ITA  52.41  49.50  1:41.91  +3.43  25.08
 17  20  196803 MOUGEL Laurie 1988 FRA  52.38  49.65  1:42.03  +3.55  25.95
 18  31  306249 HASEGAWA Emi 1986 JPN  52.65  49.48  1:42.13  +3.65  26.69
 19  27  297601 BRIGNONE Federica 1990 ITA  52.90  49.29  1:42.19  +3.71  27.12
 20  32  539909 MOLTZAN Paula 1994 USA  53.04  49.18  1:42.22  +3.74  27.34
 21  35  185317 SOPPELA Merle 1991 FIN  52.71  50.09  1:42.80  +4.32  31.58
 22  8  506146 SWENN-LARSSON Anna 1991 SWE  51.29  51.55  1:42.84  +4.36  31.88
 23  23  506399 HECTOR Sara 1992 SWE  52.39  50.64  1:43.03  +4.55  33.27
 24  43  225525 TILLEY Alexandra 1993 GBR  53.11  50.34  1:43.45  +4.97  36.34
 25  29  25096 GUTIERREZ Mireia 1988 AND  53.56  50.44  1:44.00  +5.52  40.36
 26  26  196725 BARIOZ Taina 1988 FRA  53.09  51.03  1:44.12  +5.64  41.23
 27  40  385096 POPOVIC Leona 1997 CRO  53.59  51.14  1:44.73  +6.25  45.69
 28  36  537792 DUKE Hailey 1985 USA  53.66  51.29  1:44.95  +6.47  47.30
 29  38  565331 LAVTAR Katarina 1988 SLO  53.98  51.00  1:44.98  +6.50  47.52
 30  37  107387 CRAWFORD Candace 1994 CAN  54.02  50.99  1:45.01  +6.53  47.74
 31  46  65038 PERSYN Karen 1983 BEL  54.27  50.91  1:45.18  +6.70  48.98
 32  49  225518 GUEST Charlotte 1993 GBR  54.03  52.04  1:46.07  +7.59  55.49
 33  42  385041 NOVOSELIC Sofija 1990 CRO  55.65  51.27  1:46.92  +8.44  61.71
 34  55  35089 SIMARI BIRKNER Macarena 1984 ARG  55.67  52.20  1:47.87  +9.39  68.65
 35  62  435334 GASIENICA-DANIEL Maryna 1994 POL  55.41  52.61  1:48.02  +9.54  69.75
 36  59  255314 GUDMUNDSDOTTIR Maria 1993 ISL  55.78  52.62  1:48.40  +9.92  72.53
 37  53  35156 BANCORA Salome 1993 ARG  55.70  53.16  1:48.86  +10.38  75.89
 38  44  538284 MCJAMES Megan 1987 USA  54.82  54.29  1:49.11  +10.63  77.72
 39  64  415205 HUDSON Piera 1996 NZL  56.02  53.58  1:49.60  +11.12  81.30
 40  75  715167 MERDANOVIC Sejla 1997 BIH  56.11  54.01  1:50.12  +11.64  85.10
 40  61  695063 MATSOTSKA Bogdana 1989 UKR  56.56  53.56  1:50.12  +11.64  85.10
 42  60  255367 VILHJALMSDOTTIR Helga Maria 1995 ISL  57.60  53.92  1:51.52  +13.04  95.34
 43  74  555036 ABOLTINA Agnese 1996 LAT  56.63  54.92  1:51.55  +13.07  95.56
 44  25  705423 VLHOVA Petra 1995 SVK  53.12  58.83  1:51.95  +13.47  98.48
 45  70  255352 ASGEIRSDOTTIR Erla 1994 ISL  57.87  55.06  1:52.93  +14.45  105.65
 45  58  45216 CHRYSTAL Lavinia 1989 AUS  57.64  55.29  1:52.93  +14.45  105.65
 47  72  65108 NELLES Mathilde 1997 BEL  57.48  55.63  1:53.11  +14.63  106.96
 48  76  685018 TSIKLAURI Nino 1993 GEO  58.15  56.48  1:54.63  +16.15  118.07
Did not qualify for 2nd run
 49  67  35177 SIMARI BIRKNER Angelica 1994 ARG  58.25  58.25
 50  69  175041 LEMGART Charlotte Techen 1993 DAN  58.33  58.33
 51  71  255357 EINARSDOTTIR Freydis Halla 1994 ISL  58.69  58.69
 52  87  197848 ARBEZ Tess 1997 IRE  58.90  58.90
 53  65  115115 BARAHONA Noelle 1990 CHI  59.20  59.20
 54  73  245051 BERECZ Anna 1988 HUN  1:00.68  1:00.68
 55  79  695108 KNYSH Olha 1995 UKR  1:00.94  1:00.94
 56  82  235110 RALLI Sophia 1988 GRE  1:01.08  1:01.08
 57  81  959300 PELLEGRIN Elise 1991 MLT  1:02.20  1:02.20
 58  92  365020 ELVINGER Catherine 1995 LUX  1:02.47  1:02.47
 59  90  785007 JANUSKEVICIUTE Ieva 1994 LTU  1:02.61  1:02.61
 60  91  555029 MELDERE Ieva 1994 LAT  1:02.93  1:02.93
 61  89  175050 BERTHELSEN Nuunu Chemnitz 1996 DAN  1:03.75  1:03.75
 62  110  245070 CSIMA Laura 1997 HUN  1:04.13  1:04.13
 63  94  298936 MEHILLI Suela 1994 ALB  1:04.52  1:04.52
 64  104  115215 PFINGSTHORN Magdalena 1998 CHI  1:05.22  1:05.22
 65  98  235277 GKOGKOU Anastasia 1995 GRE  1:05.35  1:05.35
 66  93  125022 QIN Xiyue 1988 CHN  1:05.41  1:05.41
 67  99  235195 KOKKINI Anastasia 1992 GRE  1:07.64  1:07.64
 68  106  345107 MOHBAT Natacha 1996 LIB  1:09.11  1:09.11
 69  102  315203 BULATOVIC Ivana 1994 MNE  1:09.89  1:09.89
 70  120  245072 EIGLER Patricia 1998 HUN  1:11.65  1:11.65
 71  112  775004 PALIUTKINA Olga 1993 KGZ  1:15.98  1:15.98
 72  118  215019 BARANOVA Tatjana 1993 UZB  1:24.48  1:24.48
 73  117  625024 DEVI Varsha 1995 IND  1:32.65  1:32.65
 74  119  135012 WU Meng-Chien 1998 TPE  1:53.37  1:53.37
Did not start 2nd run
 41  45331 SMALL Greta 1995 AUS
 19  537772 STIEGLER Resi 1985 USA
Did not start 1st run
 48  405138 JELINKOVA Adriana 1995 NED
 30  155728 DUBOVSKA Martina 1992 CZE
Did not finish 2nd run
 56  155727 CAPOVA Gabriela 1993 CZE
 52  185292 ROVE Kristiina 1990 FIN
 45  485637 ALOPINA Ksenia 1992 RUS
 28  565401 BUCIK Ana 1993 SLO
 22  197319 BAUD Adeline 1992 FRA
 21  296259 MOELGG Manuela 1983 ITA
 16  516284 GISIN Michelle 1993 SUI
 13  516280 HOLDENER Wendy 1993 SUI
 10  55759 KIRCHGASSER Michaela 1985 AUT
 7  55690 HOSP Nicole 1983 AUT
Did not finish 1st run
 116  345106 HADDAD Yasma 1996 LIB
 115  625023 THAKUR Aanchal 1996 IND
 114  345098 KEIROUZ Celine 1995 LIB
 113  345095 NASSAR Lea 1995 LIB
 111  315218 MANDIC Nina 1997 SRB
 109  245067 BERECZ Reka 1995 HUN
 108  315217 BOGDANOVIC Barbara 1997 SRB
 107  115196 VICUNA Josefina 1996 CHI
 105  285018 BUCHLER Gitit 1993 ISR
 103  175048 MOE Lisa Christine Blunck 1996 DAN
 101  215007 GRIGOREVA Kseniya 1987 UZB
 100  715150 HALILOVIC Amira 1993 BIH
 97  285015 KIEK Ronnie 1993 ISR
 96  955000 OETTL REYES Ornella 1991 PER
 95  315201 JANKOVIC Masa 1994 SRB
 88  235292 SAMARINOU Maria 1996 GRE
 86  125021 XIA Lina 1987 CHN
 85  275024 BELL Victoria 1994 IRE
 84  695101 TIKUN Tetyana 1994 UKR
 83  85022 HARRISSON Maya 1992 BRA
 80  275029 BELL Florence 1996 IRE
 78  555037 GASUNA Evelina 1997 LAT
 77  536481 SCHLEPER Sarah 1979 MEX
 68  715123 NOVAKOVIC Zana 1985 BIH
 66  65075 DECROIX Marjolein 1992 BEL
 63  95050 KIRKOVA Maria 1986 BUL
 57  35131 GASTALDI Nicol 1990 ARG
 54  555018 GASUNA Lelde 1990 LAT
 51  385092 KOMSIC Andrea 1996 CRO
 50  155699 PAULATHOVA Katerina 1993 CZE
 47  385069 MISAK Iva 1993 CRO
 39  315187 IGNJATOVIC Nevena 1990 SRB

 

Article Tags: Alpine, Top Rotator, Top Story

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Jessica Kelley
Contributor
- A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Ski Team, Kelley collected three NorAm titles, won GS silver at the 2002 World Junior Championships, and was a member of the 2007 World Championships team during her professional career. She resides in Park City, Utah, with her husband, Adam Cole.
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