Mikaela Shiffrin won the season-opening slalom for her 75th career World Cup victory and broke the female record she shared with Lindsey Vonn for the most podiums in a single discipline.
“It’s a bit hard to explain what it means because it’s a pretty big number, actually,” said Shiffrin, who is third all-time in World Cup wins behind Ingemar Stenmark (86) and Vonn (82). “So many years I’ve been racing now. Every single race that I won had some special meaning. I don’t think, as a human, I can feel that many emotions at one time. Actually, I don’t think about 75. I just think about this one.”
Shiffrin, third after the first of two runs in Levi, Finland, had the best second run to prevail by .16 of a second over Swede Anna Swenn Larsson combining times from both runs.
The winner’s prize in Levi is a reindeer. Shiffrin “won” her fifth reindeer, though the animals stay in Europe.
German Lena Duerr, the first run leader, was last to go in the second run. She still held a lead of .38 over Shiffrin halfway through her second run, but lost nearly a second to the next split and finished in fourth place behind Olympic champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia.
“Everybody’s like, ‘Who’s better, Petra or Mikaela?'” Shiffrin said of Vlhova, who in the last Olympic cycle overtook Shiffrin as the top-ranked slalom skier. “To be honest, I think when we both push on our very, very best skiing, you actually don’t know who’s going to win. I think that’s what makes it exciting. I would like to say I’m always going to win if I’m skiing the best, but it’s not really true. It’s just who pushes a little bit harder and who hits the timing exactly right.”
Shiffrin, who ended last season with her worst run of slalom results since she was a 17-year-old rookie (DNF at the Olympics, ninth, eighth), earned her 67th World Cup slalom podium. Vonn made 66 downhill podiums. Stenmark holds the overall record with 81 slalom podiums, plus 72 giant slalom podiums.
Shiffrin’s 48 World Cup slalom wins are most for any Alpine skier in any discipline.
She has started 100 career slaloms among the Olympics, world championships and World Cup and won 53 of them, all in her last 87 starts.
The women race another slalom in Levi on Sunday.
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Best. In. The. World.🔥 Mikaela Shiffrin wins today’s World Cup in Levi to secure World Cup win number 75 AND to become the record holder for the most World Cup podiums in a single discipline🏆
— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) November 19, 2022