Mikaela Shiffrin will finish a season that she said included the lowest moments of her career by lifting the biggest annual prize in ski racing — a 20-pound crystal globe that goes to the World Cup overall champion.
Shiffrin clinched her fourth overall title Thursday, tying Lindsey Vonn for second most in women’s history. She secured it with two races remaining in the 37-race season that began in October.
Shiffrin finished second in the World Cup Finals super-G in Courchevel, France, .05 behind Norwegian Ragnhild Mowinckel.
Her closest rival in the overall standings, Petra Vlhova, was 17th. The Slovakian dropped from 156 points behind Shiffrin to 236 points, an insurmountable deficit as a race winner receives 100 points.
“There were many moments this season that have been very great,” Shiffrin said on ORF. “But there’s also been some very low moments. It’s the lowest I’ve ever felt in my career, in my life as well. Not just skiing, but as a human, there’s been moments where I feel the weight of everything so much that it’s just a terrible feeling.
“After the Olympics, [the overall] was the final goal that was still possible to achieve. It felt like all the biggest goals I had this season, I didn’t do anything. Now this is very special.”
Shiffrin began this week’s finals with a 56-point lead from results over the season’s first 33 World Cup races. She distanced Vlhova by winning Wednesday’s downhill before cementing the overall title Thursday.
The overall “was not our goal before the season,” said Vlhova, who didn’t do every race as she did last season, when she became the first Slovakian to win the overall.
“We decided to fight for overall after Olympics,” Vlhova, who was tied with Shiffrin in the overall three weeks ago, said on ORF. “I’m happy for [Shiffrin]. Because, maybe, after Olympics she was a little bit down. I think, me I have small globe [slalom season title], Olympic [slalom] gold. She has overall globe. We are fifty-fifty.”
Only the legendary Annemarie Moser-Pröll has more World Cup overall titles than Shiffrin, who at 27 is young enough to chase the Austrian’s record. Moser-Pröll won six in the 1970s.
The overall title goes to the skier with the most combined points across all disciplines over the course of a season. The winner is generally regarded as the world’s best all-around Alpine skier.
This is Shiffrin’s first overall title since she won three in a row from 2017-19.
In 2020, she raced an abbreviated season due to the death of her father. In 2021, she was sidelined by a back injury at the start of the season and raced zero downhills or super-Gs on the World Cup.
This season, Shiffrin came back from a back injury, a COVID-19 quarantine and an Olympics where her best individual finish was ninth to each time return to the top of the World Cup podium.
“This season has been one of the most confusing seasons,” she said. “After the Olympics, that’s a hard wall to climb over.”
Shiffrin has two races left this season — a slalom on Saturday and a giant slalom on Sunday. She has 74 career World Cup wins, trailing only Vonn (82) and Ingemar Stenmark (86).
She has a record 47 slalom victories, but in her most recent slalom last Saturday, she was ninth, her lowest result in a slalom that she finished since 2014.
“This last week alone was some very low moments, [thinking] like I should just go home because I don’t think I would truly have a chance, and somehow we’re here now,” she said Thursday. “Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes, as I know, things don’t always go your way.”
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