mikaela shiffrin

Mikaela Shiffrin crashes in World Cup season finale (video)

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Mikaela Shiffrin laughed off how she finished the final race of the World Cup season, getting turned backwards, falling and sliding down the giant slalom course for at least 15 seconds in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Sunday.

“I twisted out of the turn too soon,” Shiffrin told media after her failed first run. “I was getting really excited about my skiing until that point. … I was sliding down the rest of the course on my butt. … I was doing a backwards snow plow, which I have now perfected.”

Shiffrin, 21 and the youngest Olympic slalom champion, finished the season with five World Cup wins — all in slalom. She missed six of the season’s 11 slaloms due to a knee injury suffered in a Dec. 12 crash, which kept her out two months.

Shiffrin has one more competition left this season, the U.S. Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, this week.

She will go into next season likely riding an 11-race slalom win streak, should she prevail in Sun Valley, while also seeking her first outright World Cup giant slalom victory.

Shiffrin could be among a group of decorated World Cup overall title contenders for 2016-17, with the returns from injury of Lindsey Vonn and Anna Fenninger, the possible return from break of Tina Maze and this season’s World Cup overall champion, Lara Gut.

VIDEO: Shiffrin wins 10th straight slalom

Mikaela Shiffrin wins 10th straight slalom in World Cup Finals rout

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Mikaela Shiffrin dominated en route to her 10th straight slalom victory, crushing the field by 2.03 seconds at the World Cup Finals in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday.

“I definitely feel like my slalom is 100 percent,” Shiffrin said after her first run, which was .72 faster than the field.

Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova was runner-up combining times from both runs, followed by Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter. Full results are here.

Shiffrin won five of the 11 World Cup slaloms this season. She didn’t start the other six due to tearing her right MCL and suffering a knee bone fracture in a Dec. 12 warm-up crash.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion’s winning streak dating to the February 2015 World Championships includes that World title, a National title and eight World Cup slaloms.

Her eight-race World Cup slalom streak is the longest since four-time Olympic champion Janica Kostelic won 10 straight from 1999 through 2001.

During Shiffrin’s streak, she’s notched the largest World Cup women’s slalom margin of victory (3.07 seconds) and the fourth-largest (2.65 seconds), according to ski-db.com.

“Sometimes when I watch the video, it just seems like I’m able to be connected with my skis better and move quicker,” Shiffrin said. “Like the rhythm changes don’t get me as much. It all adds up. … I could easily see them figuring that out and coming back and beating me.”

Shiffrin was mathematically eliminated from being able to win her fourth straight World Cup slalom season title because of her two-month injury absence.

Hansdotter clinched her first season title March 6.

“We need to find something for next year to beat [Shiffrin] or even to do a battle because she’s skiing too fast,” Hansdotter said, according to The Associated Press.

Shiffrin is slated to start the last World Cup race this season, a giant slalom Sunday.

If Shiffrin was healthy this whole season, her average finishes in slaloms and giant slaloms would have netted her 1,394 points. World Cup overall champion Lara Gut is at 1,462 points with one race left.

That small difference proves Shiffrin can contend for the World Cup overall title next season, especially as she adds super-G experience. And even with the returns of past World Cup overall champions Lindsey Vonn and Anna Fenninger and potentially Tina Maze.

“If I can have some good results in some speed events, then maybe I have a shot at the overall,” Shiffrin told skionline.ch. “It’s going to be a fight next year.”

MORE: Lindsey Vonn discusses knee injury, future

Lara Gut passes Lindsey Vonn in World Cup overall standings

Lara Gut
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Swiss Lara Gut did the inevitable Monday, passing Lindsey Vonn in the World Cup overall standings to ensure the American will not win the title this season.

Gut finished fourth in a World Cup giant slalom in Jasna, Slovakia, behind Austrian winner Eva-Maria Brem. U.S. Olympic slalom champion Mikaela Shiffrin was 14th. Full results are here.

Gut needed to finish in the top nine to overcome a 28-point deficit to Vonn, a four-time World Cup overall champion who announced Wednesday she would not race again this season due to knee injuries from a Feb. 27 crash.

Even if Gut failed to pass Vonn on Monday, she would have had six more chances this season with two more races next weekend and the World Cup Finals the following week in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Gut, 24 and the 2014 Olympic downhill bronze medalist, has a comfortable 263-point lead on German Viktoria Rebensburg in the overall standings and could mathematically clinch her first World Cup overall title next weekend.

Gut burst onto the scene in 2009, winning two World Championships silver medals at age 17, making her one of the top challengers to Vonn going into the 2010 Olympics. But she missed those Games after dislocating her right hip in a September 2009 training crash.

She won two World Cup races total over the next four years but re-emerged in the 2013-14 Olympic season with seven World Cup victories and her first Olympic medal.

Gut regressed last season, was ninth in the overall standings and emerged without much fanfare for the 2015-16 campaign. However, injuries to Vonn, Shiffrin and Austrian Anna Fenninger and Slovenian Tina Maze‘s break from the sport opened the door.

Gut blasted through it with six victories this season, making the top of the podium in every discipline but slalom. Vonn has nine wins this season.

VIDEO: Mikaela Shiffrin routs for ninth straight win