Mikaela Shiffrin straddled a gate while en route to a podium, and potentially a victory, failing to finish a World Cup slalom for the first time in four years.
Shiffrin straddled with about 15 seconds left on the second-run course in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Sunday. Before that, she had an intermediate split that was .05 slower than Wendy Holdener, who ended up second, and .02 faster than Petra Vlhova, who won.
“Straddling is just … it’s twisting the knife when it’s stuck in your heart, except you’re the one who stuck it in and you’re also the one doing the twisting,” Shiffrin said, according to U.S. Ski and Snowboard. “Yes, it happens, but it shouldn’t. It’s a very slight silver lining that my skiing up to that point felt very good, but that doesn’t take away any of the frustration, especially after a challenging day yesterday, too [seventh place in a giant slalom]. But it happened and I can’t change it, I can just try harder next time.”
Vlhova, Shiffrin’s rival from Slovakia, prevailed by .23 of a second, overtaking first-run leader Holdener of Switzerland. Anna Swenn-Larsson of Sweden was third.
Vlhova has won five of the six World Cup slaloms this season and is the clear favorite for Olympic gold in Shiffrin’s trademark event. Shiffrin won the other slalom, in Killington, Vermont, on Thanksgiving weekend, after Vlhova made a significant mistake early in her second run after posting the fastest first run.
Holdener, in her 100th World Cup slalom start, earned her 29th podium in the discipline — all second- and third-place finishes.
The last time Shiffrin DNFed in a slalom was Jan. 28, 2018, the last one before the PyeongChang Olympics. Then in South Korea, she was shockingly fourth in the Olympic slalom, tired a bit from winning the giant slalom the previous day in a schedule condensed due to weather.
The World Cup moves to Schladming, Austria, on Tuesday for the last women’s slalom before the Olympics.
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