Anna Swenn Larsson

Mikaela Shiffrin makes history with fourth-straight slalom world championship win

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Set to ski ahead of her two fastest competitors from run one, Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener and Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson, the U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, who had fought through violent coughing fits in her first run, was pulled aside by her mom to say it was O.K. if she didn’t ski her second.

“My mom said to me before the second run, ‘You don’t have to do this,'” Shiffrin said. “I was coughing so hard that my stomach was in spasms, and I couldn’t breathe, and then I kept coughing more.

“At what point do you say, No, I can’t do 60 seconds of skiing. I’m out here. I want to do it and whether I win or not, I just wanted to try. And when she said, You don’t have to, then I was sure that I wanted to.”

Skiing for her record-setting fourth consecutive world slalom title, Shiffrin went all-in, raising the stakes in the two-run race and crossed the finish in first, taking over the top spot by more than a second.

After completing her fight with her body and the mountain, Shiffrin collapsed to the snow, coughing and gasping to catch her breath.

With the final outcome now out of her control, Shiffrin watched, hoping her lead would hold.

Swenn-Larsson followed Shiffrin, but was unable to find the speed to knock Shiffrin out of first. Despite missing the top spot by .62 hundredths of a second, Swenn-Larsson was greeted like a champion by the home crowd as she won the first medal for Sweden at these world championships.

Holdener was next on course, but just moments into her run, it became clear Shiffrin would prevail. Making her 11th turn on course, Holdener came off a gate wide and was forced to hit the brakes. Holdener would finish her second run well off the pace set by Shiffrin, falling all the way to 17th.

Full results are here.

“I knew I had to fight really hard the second run because Anna and Wendy are so strong,” a tearful Shiffrin told NBC Sports after her run. “The girls behind me were also really close. I just figured I have to be tough and try it and I just need 60 seconds to push, and I can do that for 60 seconds.”

Shiffrin gets her second win of these world championships. Her first came in the first race of the event, the Super-G. Shiffrin was also on the giant slalom podium, winning bronze in the same discipline in which she leads her competitors by a considerable margin on the World Cup points list.

The 2019 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships wraps up in Are tomorrow morning with the men’s slalom. Watch the first run live at 5:00 a.m. ET on TV and streaming on Olympic Channel and NBC Sports Gold, with an encore presentation on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET. The second run gets started at 8:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold.

Shiffrin third after first run in chase for world championship slalom history

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The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin, in an attempt to become the first skier to win four-straight world championship titles in a single event, is in need of a second run like none other if she hopes to make history in Are, Sweden.

Shiffrin, battling a bad cold, cut back on her warmup routine prior to her first run in an attempt to conserve energy.

Shiffrin was the second skier on course and is currently third in the standings after her first run.

First run results are here.

“A lot of my run felt pretty good. Breathing is a little difficult, so that’s the only tricky thing,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports after her first run. “You gotta breathe to keep your energy through the entire run, so I was sort of managing that a little bit.

“To be honest, nobody races in perfect conditions, so I think I gotta toughen up a little bit.”

Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener had the best time in run #1, followed by Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson. Holdener, Swenn-Larsson and Shiffrin are all bunched up at the top, with just over a tenth of a second separating Shiffrin from Holdener.

One likely issue facing Shiffrin and her competitors in run two will be skiing on a rutted track of soft snow. Race organizers have made every attempt to harden the surface, but their attempts may be in vain. 

“The second run is gonna be bumpy, and it’s gonna be a fight,” Shiffrin said.

Shiffrin has been dominant in slalom on the World Cup this season, winning six out of the seven slalom races held. Shiffrin’s biggest rival in slalom this season and winner of this week’s world championship giant slalom, Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, also found herself behind the lead with the fifth-best time after her first run.

Catch the encore presentation of the first run of women’s slalom on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET and watch Mikaela Shiffrin chase history live in the second and deciding run of women’s slalom on NBCSN on TV and streaming beginning at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Shiffrin stands alone atop slalom podium, gets second win in Maribor

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The U.S.’ Mikaela Shiffrin and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova were locked in an Alpine ski battle for the second time this weekend in Maribor. A day after the two friendly rivals happily shared first place in giant slalom, Shiffrin and Vlhova laid down thier opening runs in slalom, with Shiffrin holding an edge of a full second at the break.

Vlhova pushed Shiffrin in the second run of Friday’s GS, but could she do it again in slalom, an event Shiffrin has owned on the World Cup, winning more than half the races she’s entered — 37 wins in all.

The previous slalom held this season was won by Vlhova, who’s second run was fast enough to relegate Shiffrin to second, stopping Shiffrin one win short of tying the most-consecutive World Cup slalom win record of eight.  In the last 17 slalom races staged on the World Cup stretching back to March 2017, the top podium spot has either gone to Shiffrin (13 wins) or Vlhova (4 wins).

With race time air temperatures in the mid-50s, and a second run course set to help mitigate ruts in the soft surface around the gates, Vlhova dropped in just ahead of Shiffrin, while Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson sat at the bottom of the hill as the current leader.

Vlhova could not produce a second run like she had in Friday’s GS to contend for the win, crossing the finish with the fourth best combined time. It’s the first time this season Vlhova has not appeared on a World Cup slalom podium.

Shiffrin, with her biggest challenger out of the podium picture, started her event closing run by picking up time early and never relenting. Despite conditions being less than ideal, Shiffrin crossed the finish to win her third-consecutive slalom in Maribor. Swenn Larsson joined Shiffrin on the podium in second with Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener finishing third.    

Full results are here.

With two slalom events remaining on the World Cup calendar this season, Shiffrin can tie the all-time slalom win record for a man or woman, set by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.

The win is also Shiffrin’s 13th victory this season. The entirety of the women’s World Cup field has a combined win total of just 14.  

The women’s tour now turns its focus to the biggest event of the year, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden. Shiffrin has said she plans to compete in Super-G, giant slalom and slalom and potentially the super combined. Racing kicks off with the women’s Super-G, where the U.S.’ Lindsey Vonn, who sent shockwaves through the Alpine world with her recent retirement announcement, is expected to compete. Vonn has also said she will race in the downhill.

This morning heavy snowfall in Garmisch-Partenkirchen forced the cancellation of the final men’s downhill before next week’s World Championships. The men’s giant slalom is still on the schedule for Sunday morning in GaPa, with the first run beginning at 4:30 a.m. ET and the second run at 7:30 a.m. ET. Watch the first run on OlympicChannel.com or with the NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass. Catch the second run live on TV or streaming with Olympic Channel or NBC Sports Gold.

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