Mikaela Shiffrin wins ninth straight slalom in rout

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Mikaela Shiffrin won her ninth straight slalom race and her second since returning from a December knee injury, crushing the field by 2.36 seconds in Jasna, Slovakia, on Sunday.

“Both runs, I don’t know, I tried to pretend like there was a bear chasing me,” Shiffrin said. “I was kind of scared both runs. I was like, just go faster. It worked really well.”

Swiss Wendy Holdener was second, followed by Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova. Swede Frida Hansdotter finished 10th and clinched the World Cup slalom season title, a task made easier since Shiffrin missed most of the campaign with a knee injury. Full Sunday results are here.

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

It’s the longest women’s World Cup slalom winning streak 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.

“When the margins are big like that, it feels like a dream, a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “I’m scared that I’m going to wake up.”

On Sunday, she led by 1.67 seconds after the first run.

“In the two months off, I definitely lost a little bit of the confidence in my timing, but that run I definitely had it,” Shiffrin told media in Jasna of her first run. “No doubt on that one.”

Shiffrin was mathematically eliminated from being able to win her fourth straight World Cup slalom season title because she missed six of the 10 slaloms this season due to the injury. Hansdotter earned the title while winning one race this season.

“Frida has been as consistent as I have been, or even more consistent in the past three, four years,” Shiffrin said. “She deserves to get the globe, to be honest. I’m really happy for her. I want to present it to her myself, just so she knows I’m like, good job, but I’m going to crush you next year. Just kidding.”

Shiffrin’s definitely over the first knee injury of her career, suffered in a pre-race crash on Dec. 12 in Are, Sweden.

“Thankfully, my knee is probably the most 100 percent part of me,” Shiffrin said at the bib draw on Saturday.

The Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Jasna scheduled for Monday. There is one more slalom left, at the World Cup Finals in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on March 19.

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