More history for Mikaela Shiffrin, one of the world’s most dominant athletes in any sport.
She became the first Alpine skier to win five straight World Cup races in 20 years on Tuesday, coming from behind at a night slalom in Flachau, Austria.
Shiffrin won for the eighth time in nine races overall, prevailing by .94 of a second combining times from two runs over Austrian Bernadette Schild.
Schild led Shiffrin by .37 after the first run, when Shiffrin said her timing was off. Shiffrin’s coach, Mike Day, set the course for the second run.
“This was the first time [this season] that I was coming from behind in the first run, and I had to make a statement,” she said, according to The Associated Press. “That was really important for me, a really big checkmark on the way to the Olympics because when we are there, anything can happen, and I want to be mentally prepared for all those possibilities.”
Two of Shiffrin’s closest slalom rivals — Slovak Petra Vlhova and Swiss Wendy Holdener — skied out in the first run.
Shiffrin became the first man or woman to win five straight World Cup races since German Katja Seizinger in 1997.
She also tied Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell‘s record for most World Cup wins before turning 23, grabbing her 41st career victory and 10th this season.
Lindsey Vonn, the female record holder with 78 victories, had seven at this age.
Shiffrin is favored to win three gold medals in PyeongChang (slalom, giant slalom, super combined), which would match the record for an Alpine skier at one Olympics.
All of Shiffrin’s eight wins in this nine-race span have been in slalom (or some variation) and giant slalom.
The Coloradoan grabbed gold in Sochi as the youngest Olympic slalom champion ever. She since matured into the world’s best all-around skier, taking last year’s World Cup overall title and running away in this year’s standings.
The women’s World Cup continues with a downhill and super-G in Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria, on Saturday and Sunday, live on Olympic Channel.
Vonn will headline those races, which Shiffrin is expected to skip.
Shiffrin picks and chooses speed events where she feels comfortable. She is expected to race the following weekend’s downhill and super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Also Tuesday, Resi Stiegler became the third U.S. female Alpine skier to qualify for PyeongChang, joining Shiffrin and Megan McJames.
Stiegler, 32, has a best finish of 11th from two previous Olympics.
She has a best finish this season of 14th and last made a World Cup podium in 2012, but qualified for the Olympics as the second-best U.S. slalom skier behind Shiffrin this season.
Vonn and other speed racers can qualify the next two weekends.
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