Courchevel

Mikaela Shiffrin passed in World Cup GS standings after ‘heartbreaking’ result

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Mikaela Shiffrin, who opened the World Cup season with four straight podiums and two wins, could not find her usual speed Tuesday, finishing 17th in a giant slalom in Couchevel, France.

Italian Federica Brignone won and snatched the World Cup GS standings lead from Shiffrin through three of a scheduled nine races. Shiffrin, the Olympic GS champion, won the season-long World Cup GS title for the first time last season.

On Tuesday, Shiffrin was “visibly upset, speechless and a little stunned,” according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard, after her worst result since the PyeongChang Olympics and her worst for a tech race outside of DNFs in more than five years.

“I have a lot of thoughts, but I probably shouldn’t say any of them on camera,” she joked, according to a press release. “Look, it’s not really OK for me to expect something more from the day. I mean … I skied and I placed how I placed. The girls who are ahead of me skied harder, better and cleaner than me.”

Shiffrin was 19th after the first run and had the 11-fastest time in the second run. She finished 1.65 seconds behind Brignone, who edged Norwegian Mina Fuerst Holtmann by .04. Shiffrin’s coach Mike Day set the course for run No. 2.

“I don’t have any excuse, really,” Shiffrin said, according to U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “They did an amazing job preparing the surface. The slope was actually in an amazing condition. Both courses were really fun to ski, and my equipment has been really great in training and everything. There’s really no one to blame but myself. I’m for sure going to watch my video. It’s experience, and there’s always a lesson to learn. Right now it feels heartbreaking, but it’s also not the end of the world, so we just have to move on to the next one.”

In the World Cup GS standings, Brignone moved from 14 points behind Shiffrin to 71 points ahead.

The Italian is likely to go into 2020 with the lead, given there is one World Cup GS over the next month and race winners receive 100 points for a win on a sliding scale for the top 30 finishers.

Shiffrin is still comfortably ahead in the chase for her fourth straight World Cup overall title, 165 points clear of Brignone.

Shiffrin skipped Sunday’s parallel slalom in St. Moritz, Switzerland, her third time passing on a tech race (aside from injury) since she burst onto the scene as a teenager in 2012. She used the time off to rest after last Saturday’s super-G, ahead of Tuesday’s GS and this weekend’s downhill and super combined in Val d’Isere, France.

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins 50th World Cup, youngest to hit milestone

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Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest Alpine skier to reach 50 World Cup wins and tied a childhood idol for the career slalom victories record, prevailing in Courchevel, France on Saturday.

Shiffrin won for the second straight day, for her fifth straight start and for the 14th time in 2018, extending her female World Cup record for one year.

She beat Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova by .29 of a second over two runs, making up a .04 deficit on the last split, 16 seconds before the finish. Full results are here.

A day after yelling at the finish line, out of character, Shiffrin was her quieter self on Saturday with a pair of subdued arm pumps while breathing heavily.

“Physically, my energy is good,” Shiffrin, who overcame a back injury and illness in recent weeks, said after having the fastest first run by .04 over Vlhova, “but mentally waking up is a struggle.”

The 23-year-old supplanted all-time wins leader Ingemar Stenmark as the quickest to 50 victories by age (by two months). However, Stenmark reached 50 wins in 100 starts, while Shiffrin did it in 142 starts. Lindsey Vonn did it in 297, according to Olympic historian Bill Mallon of the OlyMADMen.

“I was trying as hard as I could not to focus on [the 50 milestone] today because it’s so distracting to think about those numbers,” Shiffrin said. “There’s, like, a list of statistics and records that happened today, and I don’t even know what they are. … I’m not chasing these victories. I’m skiing freely.”

It’s likely Shiffrin gets to 60 World Cup wins before February’s world championships. The next five races through Jan. 8 are all giant slaloms or slaloms, Shiffrin’s specialties.

“I think she will beat all the records that you can beat,” said Swede Frida Hansdotter, who took slalom gold in PyeongChang (when Shiffrin was shockingly fourth) and was third on Saturday.

Shiffrin now has 35 slalom wins, matching retired Austrian Marlies Schild for the female record in that discipline. Shiffrin, who has 39 slalom wins if including head-to-head parallel events, still defers to Schild as the greatest female slalom skier ever.

“She was the one who made it possible for me to ski slalom the way that I do,” said Shiffrin, who as a teen studied video of Schild’s technique and said last month that she still watches her old runs. “So I can’t ever feel like, oh yeah, I took that record from her.”

The World Cup moves to Semmering, Austria, for a giant slalom and slalom next weekend, streaming live on NBC Sports Gold.

“I’m going to go hibernate for the next four days,” Shiffrin joked.

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VIDEO: Swiss Olympian flown to hospital after World Cup downhill crash

Mikaela Shiffrin comes back for 49th World Cup win

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Make it 49 World Cup wins for Mikaela Shiffrin, not that she’s keeping track. She goes for No. 50 on Saturday.

The 23-year-old won her fourth straight World Cup start, capturing a giant slalom in snowy Courchevel, France, on Friday.

Shiffrin made up a .08 deficit from the first run to prevail by .14 over 2010 Olympic GS champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany. The second-run start was moved down due to the weather. Full results are here.

“Normally, I’m having trouble with this kind of conditions when it’s inconsistent or a little bit soft snow, and definitely I have trouble when it’s bad visibility,” said the normally reserved Coloradoan, who screamed a “Yes!” and “Woo!” when she skied into the lead by .33 with two skiers still to go, including first-run leader Rebensburg. “It’s really exciting today because those were the two things we were all battling in the second run. My skis felt just perfect.”

Shiffrin is the youngest skier to reach 49 World Cup wins and will be the youngest to 50 by winning any of the upcoming technical races ahead of the world championships in February.

“We were talking last night. I didn’t know how many wins I had,” said Shiffrin, whose first came Dec. 20, 2012 at age 17. “I mean, yeah, I know, but I’m trying to kind of ignore it. … It’s just a number.

“If you asked me five years ago, I would never think that I could be in this position.”

She has won six of her 10 starts this season and in every discipline save downhill and super combined (the latter, thought to be fazing out of the Alpine program, will only be contested once this season on Feb. 24).

Shiffrin skipped a downhill and super-G on Tuesday and Wednesday, a decision made before she felt back soreness after winning her last event, a parallel slalom, on Dec. 9.

One of Shiffrin’s goals is to become the fourth woman to win a race in every discipline in one season, joining Petra KronbergerJanica Kostelic and Tina Maze.

The next priority is Saturday’s slalom in Courchevel. Shiffrin is undefeated in her trademark event since finishing a shocking fourth at the PyeongChang Olympics, where she did win the GS. The event streams live on NBC Sports Gold and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA (broadcast info here).

Shiffrin is one shy of Austrian Marlies Schild‘s record 35 World Cup slalom victories.

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VIDEO: Swiss Olympian flown to hospital after World Cup downhill crash