Frida Hansdotter

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Mikaela Shiffrin beaten after slow first run in night slalom

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Mikaela Shiffrin couldn’t overcome a slow (by her standards) first run and tied for third in a World Cup slalom in Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday night.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion was .78 of a second shy of Swedish winner Frida Hansdotter after two runs. Shiffrin won five of the first six World Cup slaloms this season going into Tuesday.

Shiffrin was in fifth place after the first run in Flachau, 1.38 seconds behind Hansdotter, then had the fastest second run by one tenth.

“I just didn’t ski fast enough,” Shiffrin said after her first run. “And that’s pretty much it.”

RACE RESULTS | RUN 2 REPLAY

Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso could race for the first time this season at the next World Cup stop in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria, this weekend, starting with a downhill training run Thursday.

Vonn, coming back from a broken arm suffered in a Nov. 11 training crash, last raced Feb. 28. Mancuso, who had November 2015 hip surgery, last raced March 7, 2015.

NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app will live stream racing Saturday (downhill) and Sunday (super combined) mornings. Shiffrin said she definitely won’t be racing the downhill but may do the super combined, which is one super-G run and one slalom run.

On Tuesday, Shiffrin moved 365 points ahead in the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest annual prize in the sport, through 19 of a scheduled 37 races.

That lead, which is comfortable now, will be cut into significantly before February’s world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and leading into the season-ending World Cup Finals in Aspen, Colo., in March.

That’s because the early season was weighed heavily with Shiffrin’s best events — slalom and giant slalom. Speed races of downhill and super-G make up the majority of the remaining schedule.

Defending World Cup overall champion Lara Gut is stronger in speed events and is the main threat to Shiffrin’s lead over the next two months. The Swiss Gut is in second place in the standings but arguably still the favorite for the overall title.

“One of my big goals that I want to accomplish is the overall,” Shiffrin, who could become the third U.S. woman to take the biggest annual prize in ski racing (Tamara McKinney, Vonn), said after her previous race Sunday, a slalom victory. “And I don’t know if it happens this year, but eventually that will be a big goal. … Right now, my focus is more world championships, but, eventually it will be more overall, probably.”

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Mikaela Shiffrin wins ninth straight slalom in rout

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Mikaela Shiffrin won her ninth straight slalom race and her second since returning from a December knee injury, crushing the field by 2.36 seconds in Jasna, Slovakia, on Sunday.

“Both runs, I don’t know, I tried to pretend like there was a bear chasing me,” Shiffrin said. “I was kind of scared both runs. I was like, just go faster. It worked really well.”

Swiss Wendy Holdener was second, followed by Slovakian Veronika Velez Zuzulova. Swede Frida Hansdotter finished 10th and clinched the World Cup slalom season title, a task made easier since Shiffrin missed most of the campaign with a knee injury. Full Sunday results are here.

The youngest Olympic slalom champion Shiffrin’s winning streak dating to the February 2015 World Championships includes that World title, a National title and seven World Cup slaloms.

It’s the longest women’s World Cup slalom winning streak since four-time Olympic champion Janica Kostelic won 10 straight from 1999 through 2001.

During Shiffrin’s streak, she’s notched the largest World Cup women’s slalom margin of victory (3.07 seconds) and the fourth-largest (2.65 seconds), according to ski-db.com.

“When the margins are big like that, it feels like a dream, a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “I’m scared that I’m going to wake up.”

On Sunday, she led by 1.67 seconds after the first run.

“In the two months off, I definitely lost a little bit of the confidence in my timing, but that run I definitely had it,” Shiffrin told media in Jasna of her first run. “No doubt on that one.”

Shiffrin was mathematically eliminated from being able to win her fourth straight World Cup slalom season title because she missed six of the 10 slaloms this season due to the injury. Hansdotter earned the title while winning one race this season.

“Frida has been as consistent as I have been, or even more consistent in the past three, four years,” Shiffrin said. “She deserves to get the globe, to be honest. I’m really happy for her. I want to present it to her myself, just so she knows I’m like, good job, but I’m going to crush you next year. Just kidding.”

Shiffrin’s definitely over the first knee injury of her career, suffered in a pre-race crash on Dec. 12 in Are, Sweden.

“Thankfully, my knee is probably the most 100 percent part of me,” Shiffrin said at the bib draw on Saturday.

The Alpine skiing World Cup continues with a giant slalom in Jasna scheduled for Monday. There is one more slalom left, at the World Cup Finals in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on March 19.

MORE: Lindsey Vonn done for season

Mikaela Shiffrin wins comeback race, concedes World Cup title

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A nervous, jittery Mikaela Shiffrin returned to racing Monday, two months after suffering the first knee injury of her career.

The questions:

Did she come back too early from tearing an MCL and suffering a bone fracture in a Dec. 12 warm-up crash, her first time tumbling into fencing?

Why ski at all this winter, with no real hope of capturing her fourth straight World Cup slalom season title?

This is her job, Shiffrin has stressed, and she can’t afford to take extra time off.

And when the 20-year-old from Colorado got back into the start gate in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, on Monday morning, she went back to work.

“I came in today sort of blind,” Shiffrin said. “Close your eyes and go.”

Shiffrin won her sixth straight World Cup slalom race, in her first start in the discipline since Nov. 29.

She was .27 of a second better than the field in the morning run.

“I was nervous,” Shiffrin said between morning and afternoon runs. “It’s good to have my coaches and my mom and everybody here, and they’re all very reassuring. Until you know for sure you’re in there, it’s hard to not be nervous.”

She raced last in the afternoon, forced to navigate a course made slushy and rutted by the 29 women who went before her. That’s not uncommon for the world’s best slalom skier the last three years.

Fog also rolled in and out, but the mountain cleared for Shiffrin. She said having “a little bit” of visibility saved her.

“I haven’t skied in anything like that,” Shiffrin said in a finish-area interview. “I was like, here goes nothing.”

Shiffrin managed it well, crossing the finish line with .45 to spare to notch her 18th career World Cup victory.

Shiffrin, not known for exuberant celebrations, came to a stop and bowed her head into her gloves for a moment before being congratulated by second-place Nastasia Noens of France and third-place Marie-Michele Gagnon of Canada.

Full results from Monday are here.

Shiffrin does not plan to race the next World Cup slalom, a parallel city event in Stockholm on Feb. 23. If she doesn’t contest it, she is mathematically eliminated from winning her fourth straight World Cup slalom season title.

Even if she does race Stockholm, a comeback to take the trophy (a crystal globe) after missing five slaloms would be extremely unlikely.

“The slalom globe’s out,” Shiffrin said in a press conference, laughing. “I think everybody’s wondering kind of what my goals are the rest of the season.”

The women’s World Cup season continues with a downhill and super-G in Italy this weekend.

After her win, Shiffrin said she may next race a super-G in Soldeu, Andorra, on Feb. 27, but focused more on the next giant slalom in Jasna, Slovakia, on March 6.

“I’m going to focus on [giant slalom] a little bit now, for a few days at least, and try to see how quickly I can get back the feeling in GS,” she said. “Jasna, see if I can get on the podium both races [the GS and a March 7 slalom]. For the rest of the season, I’m just looking to see how many points I can get overall, not necessarily in one single event.”

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