Memo to the world: When Mikaela Shiffrin skis to within 0.15 seconds of the lead in her first run, it’s bad news for everyone else in the second.
The 17-year-old earned her remarkable first World Cup victory under the lights in Are, Sweden Thursday. Her previous best results were a couple thirds in Lienz and Levi. She became the youngest American to win a World Cup slalom since Kiki Cutter did it in 1968.
In her second run, Shiffrin kept calm under what must have been extraordinary pressure from the likes of Maria Hoefl-Riesch, Tina Maze and Frida Hansdotter, the host-nation favorite and leader after the first run.
Shiffrin, who was second earlier in the evening and started second-to-last in the final, dropped in just moments after Tina Maze threw down a brutally aggressive second run, which set the pace over the previous Erin Mielzynski of Canada.
But it wasn’t enough to hold off Shiffrin, who ultimately increased her lead over Maze by a quarter-second before the end of the race. Per usual, the American was light on her feet on the upper part of course. She got a little late just before the second split, but was able to quickly regain her rhythm and explode toward the finish, generating a half-second lead over the World Cup Overall leader Maze.
But the race didn’t end there. With the home crowd pulling for her at the base, Sweden’s Hansdotter, running 30th, was also looking for her first career World Cup victory — and no better place to achieve it than on home snow.
Hansdotter kicked out of the second run with a 0.15 advantage over the American. She made a couple small mistakes, but otherwise skied an excellent run. At the first split Hansdotter’s lead had slipped back to 0.06, but she was able to regain a little time at the third split for a 0.12 advantage going into the final stretch of gates.
Shiffrin must have really let it rip down below, because when Hansdotter crossed the finish line, her third-split lead had evaporated into a .29 deficit. She finished second on the day.
“I was just trying to fly,” said an emotional Shiffrin after the win. “I’m going to probably hug my mom a lot. She’s going to be here for Christmas and my dad comes over the next day. I imagine we’ll just try to calm down and regroup and keep training for Semmering.”
With the win, Shiffrin takes the lead in the World Cup slalom standings.
Story by Geoff Mintz
Photos by GEPA
by Hank McKee
Women’s World Cup slalom, Are, Sweden, Dec. 20, 2012
1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Hansdotter, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Atomic
4 Pietilae-Holmner, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
5 Mielzynski, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
6 Eklund, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
8 Poutiainen, Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
9 Kirchgasser, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
10 Holdener, Head/Head/Head
Women’s World Cup slalom, Are, Sweden, Dec. 20, 2012. … It is the 28th of 73 races on the 2012-13 World Cup schedule. … The 15th of 38 on the women’s schedule and the 14th held. … It is the third of nine women’s slaloms scheduled, plus two city event parallel events which will score as slaloms. … It is the 86th World Cup race hosted by Are…. the 25th slalom.
It is the first career World Cup victory for Mikaela Shiffrin. … At 17 years and nine months she becomes the second youngest US Cup race winner behind Kiki Cutter (17 years, one month) in slalom at Oslo, Feb. 25, 1968. … It is Shiffrin’s third career podium result and second of the season having placed third at Levi Nov. 10. … It is her second Cup race at Are, having placed ninth at the site, in slalom, last March 10. … It is her fifth score of the season, all top 10 placings. … It is the 251st US Cup win. … and the ninth of the season. … The last four have each come from different athletes.
Frida Hansdotter matches her career best Cup result, having also placed second in slalom at Ofterschwang March 7, 2009 and at Soldeu-Grandvalira Feb. 11, 2012. … It is her sixth score of the season and third top 10 having gained a pair of fifth place results in GS.
It is the 47th career World Cup podium for Tina Maze. … her tenth in slalom. … It is her sixth career podium finish at Are and second in two days. … It is her ninth podium of the season including five wins, and matches her best finish of the season in slalom.
It is the second best career result for Erin Mielzynski. … and her second top 10 placing. … She won in slalom at Ofterschwang last March 4. … It is her second score of the season. … It is the second best of three career scoring results for Brittany Phelan, all three coming this season in slalom. … It is the first scoring result of the season for Resi Stiegler and the 53rd of her career. … Her last three scores have all come at Are.
Maze maintains the lead of the World Cup overall standings 919-532 over Maria Hoefl-Riesch (11th in race). … Kathrin Zettel (DNF 1st) sits third with 466pts. … Lindsey Vonn (did not race) is fourth with 414 and Julia Mancuso (did not race) seventh with 345. … Marie-Michele Gagnon (DNF 1st) is top Canadian in 18th with 164pts. … Shiffrin takes over the lead of the slalom standings 196-174 over Hoefl-Riesch. … Maze is third with 170pts. … Mielzynski is top Canadian in 12th with 63pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 1976-1482 for the US. … Germany is third with 1245. … Canada ninth with 293.
FIS World Cup
Dec. 20, 2012
|Rank||Name||Year||Nation||Run 1||Run 2||Total Time|
|7||VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika||1984||SVK||55.10||51.80||1:46.90|
|Did not start 1st run|
|Did not qualify for 2nd run|
|LEMGART Charlotte Techen||1993||DAN|
|AGERER Lisa Magdalena||1991||ITA|
|Did not finish 2nd run|
|Did not finish 1st run|