Mikaela Shiffrin finished the world Alpine skiing championships with silver in her best event, the slalom, feeling the fatigue of two weeks of racing that included three medals, one gold and parting with her longtime coach earlier this week.
She finished 57 hundredths behind surprise Canadian winner Laurence St-Germain combining times from two runs in Meribel, France. German Lena Duerr earned bronze.
“It’s quite an unbelievable day after everything after these last two weeks,” Shiffrin said on the Swiss SRF broadcast. “It’s been the full range of emotions. For me, like a totally complete world championships with disappointment and excitement and triumphs and stress and everything. To finish today with another medal, that’s crazy.
“In general the headline would be losing gold. For me, it’s just as much winning silver.”
ALPINE WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule
Silver for Shiffrin! 🥈@MikaelaShiffrin closes out @CM_2023 by claiming her 14th career world championship medal.@usskiteam x @usalpineskiteam pic.twitter.com/jPlxkBTg2W
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 18, 2023
The last five minutes of Saturday’s race were bonkers.
St-Germain, a 28-year-old ranked 18th in the world in slalom this season, was third after the first run behind Swiss Wendy Holdener and the leader Shiffrin. St-Germain skied into the lead in the second run.
Then came Holdener, the world’s second-ranked slalom skier. She was leading St-Germain by 72 hundredths with 20 seconds left on the course when she straddled a gate, getting disqualified.
“I didn’t see [what happened to Holdener], but I could kind of hear,” Shiffrin, who was at the start gate when it happened, said later on the Austrian ORF broadcast.
Shiffrin began her run with a 61 hundredths advantage over St-Germain but lost most of it by the first split time and ended up 57 hundredths back with the 27th-fastest second run of the first 28 women who finished.
“It was not so much the conditions,” she said, adding that she backed off “here and there.” “At the end of two weeks, if I’m a little bit tired, I cannot move quick enough in slalom [for gold].”
St-Germain, whose only event at these worlds was the slalom, has a best individual finish on the World Cup of fifth and computer science and biomedical engineering degrees.
“Kind of weird,” she said of winning. “I was really not expecting this, obviously.”
Shiffrin finished worlds with one gold medal and two silvers in four races, rebounding after skiing out of her first race a few gates from what would have been a gold medal.
“Probably the biggest challenge has been just to keep my focus,” she said. “It’s been a long season, an exciting season, but even just the last two weeks has been just constantly pushing. At this point now I feel like the overload of everything.”
This past Tuesday, Shiffrin announced that Mike Day, her coach of seven years, left the team after being told he would not be retained for next season.
On Thursday, she won the giant slalom, her seventh career world title, to become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.
With Saturday’s silver, she is up to 14 world medals (in 17 individual starts), breaking her tie with Swede Anja Pärson for the most since World War II.
“I’m a pretty pathetic partier, actually, but we want to try to celebrate a bit,” Shiffrin said of her overall performance at worlds.
The only skier with more medals and golds is German Christl Cranz, who in the 1930s won 15 medals and 12 golds. Back then, worlds were held annually with three events and fewer skiers (the International Ski Federation lists the top six finishers per race from that era). Worlds are now biennial with six individual events, including four that Shiffrin contests.
Shiffrin will return to the World Cup in March. With 85 career World Cup wins (including a circuit-leading 11 this season), she is one shy of the record held by Ingemar Stenmark, a Swedish star of the 1970s and ’80s.
World championships results do not count toward the World Cup.
Worlds end Sunday with the men’s slalom, live on Peacock.
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