The most memorable of Mikaela Shiffrin‘s 76 World Cup wins heading into the Killington Cup in Vermont on Saturday and Sunday (12:30 p.m. ET each day on NBC and Peacock) …
Dec. 20, 2012: Win No. 1
Under the lights in Åre, Sweden, a 17-year-old Shiffrin became the second-youngest American to win a World Cup (Jody Nagel, 1969). The look on her face was priceless. “I guess I just tried to fly,” she said moments after the victory. “I’m probably going to hug my mom a lot.”
“I don’t really like the success,” she added later, according to The Associated Press. “I like to sleep at night, and I like to hang around the hotel room with my mom. I’m afraid there might be a little hype with this. But I’ll take it. This is what I love to do.”
Nov. 28, 2015: A Record Rout
Shiffrin, a Coloradan, enjoyed some home cooking in Aspen by winning a slalom by a whopping 3.07 seconds combining times from two runs. It was the greatest margin of victory in World Cup women’s slalom history and larger than the margin that separated second place from 18th place.
“I don’t think [my competitors] are going to let me get away with three seconds ever again,” she said that day. She was right. Shiffrin won by a mere 2.65 seconds the next day (fourth-largest margin in history).
Nov. 27, 2016: First Win In Killington
Shiffrin was recently asked her favorite of her five slalom wins (in five starts) in Killington. She said it was her first on the very first World Cup weekend at the venue. Not so much because of how she performed — prevailing by .73 of a second for a record-tying 10th consecutive World Cup slalom win. But for the moment she shared afterward — a finish area photo with dozens of members of team Shiffrin, including her 95-year-old grandmother. “The most proud I’ve ever been is to win a race in front of my nana,” she said then.
“Sometimes I wonder when I’m racing, is the pressure that I feel right now, and almost the sickness that I feel from this pressure, is it worth it?” she said recently. “Sometimes it only takes a single moment to make you realize how much it is worth it. And that was the moment for me.”
March 17, 2019: Mikaela’s Masterpiece
The exact peak of Shiffrin’s career? On this day, she finished off arguably the greatest season in history (a record 17 World Cup victories), capped by earning her first giant slalom season title at the World Cup Finals.
“The work is so worth it when you’re able to say that I’m really living my dream that I had when I was 5 years old,” she said at those World Cup Finals. “I was thinking, maybe it’s impossible, and then you realize that it is possible and that now you’re starting to push the limits of what everybody in the world thinks is possible. That’s a really cool feeling, but the feeling doesn’t change. I’m still just a girl with a dream.”
Dec. 14, 2020: An Emotional Return
Shiffrin’s first victory since the death of her father, Jeff, the previous Feb. 2. She won a giant slalom in Courchevel, France, and, after a subdued reaction and dropping to her knees, called it bittersweet. “After everything, it’s hard to believe that I could get back to this point,” she said in one of several emotional post-race interviews. “I’m really excited, but it’s also pretty sad because … I guess that’s obvious.”
Later on social media, Shiffrin posted, “Cheers to the wonderful and kind people who said I lost my fire forever. This one’s for you. Also this one’s for every single person who is helping me get the fire back.”
Jan. 11, 2022: An Iconic Victory
Shiffrin burst into tears upon winning a night slalom in Schladming, Austria, an iconic venue for the men that hosted a women’s slalom for just the second time. It was also the venue of Shiffrin’s first world title in 2013. But the setting wasn’t wholly the reason for Shiffrin breaking down. She had been struggling — relatively, for her — in her trademark discipline while rival Petra Vlhova of Slovakia looked stronger and stronger. Shiffrin rallied from fifth place after the first run to win, edging Vlhova, the first-run leader.
“It feels like it didn’t happen,” said Shiffrin, who with the win broke the record for most World Cup victories in a single discipline (her 47th slalom). “Aside from Killington, for obvious reasons, it’s going to be my most memorable race, maybe of my career.”
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nbcolympictalk