American teen Mikaela Shiffrin capped an incredible first season on the slopes with an improbable come from behind victory in Switzerland Saturday, and earned her first career World Cup Crystal Globe in the process.
Shiffrin, who turned 18 Wednesday, admitted she wasn’t really in the right frame of mind after falling 1.17-seconds behind World Cup overall champ Tina Maze of Slovenia after the first run.
“I was really overcome with emotions after the first run, being so far out,” Shiffrin told the AP after hoisting her first Crystal Globe.
“Everyone just said, ‘What are you holding back for? Go out and have some fun and try to dance with the gates and see how fast you can go.'”
Apparently it worked. Shiffrin roared back on her second run to win her fourth race of the season. She became the youngest woman to win the slalom title in 39 years, and the first American to take home the slalom Crystal Globe since Tamara McKinney in 1984.
“I didn’t know I could make up all that time in one run,” Shiffrin said after completing her comeback. “It’s amazing. I am still trying to find my best skiing but this was my best run of the season.”
Maze, who was seen crying after the race, had already earned records for the most points and most podiums in a season, but fell 33 points shy of Shriffin for the slalom title. Maze also lost the downhill crown to injured American Lindsey Vonn by a single point after Wednesday’s race was canceled due to fog.
Shiffrin and Maze will duke it out on the slopes again Sunday in the final giant slalom race of the season.