Mikaela Shiffrin wins super-G gold at world championships
It’s getting hard to keep track of all the records that Mikaela Shiffrin breaks.
She finished second in her race on Wednesday, earning a silver medal at the Alpine World Championships in France in the super-G, which is likely her fourth best of the five Alpine disciplines.
Never mind. Another day, another mountain, another race and more records for Shiffrin, the 27-year-old American who has been making headlines on the trails since she was a teenager.
“I kind of got all my wishes in terms of world championships and medals,” Shiffrin said over the weekend before the race started.
With her silver on Wednesday, Shiffrin’s success at the biggest ski competition outside the Olympics is moving into rarefied territory.
The World Championships are a biennial Olympic-style ski competition, and skiers covet its medals as much as anything in the sport except Olympic gear.
The goal of the world championships, she said, is to ski as hard as you can and “go for the gold.” She added: “At the end of the day, you hope it’s good enough to win a medal.”
With Shiffrin, this is usually the case.
So what exactly happened on Wednesday?
Shiffrin finished second in the second women’s race on the schedule at the Alpine Skiing World Championships in Meribel, France.
Shiffrin is usually quite expansive when she wins a ski race, but never more so than when she steps onto the podium in super-G, a speed event that features significantly more twists and turns than the downhill and allows her to bring her technical skills. skier specializing in slalom races on steeper terrain.
When Shiffrin takes the super-G podium, she usually describes how fun it was to ski the racetrack, and Wednesday was no different.
“I’m so happy with my race and emotional, because I don’t really feel like I should win a super-G medal right now,” she said after the race. “There are so many women who are so strong and so fast. There was a moment when I thought I had lost everything, but then I was able to continue until the finish.
Indeed, Shiffrin was ahead of the eventual winner, Italian Marta Bassino, in the second division, but had to fight in the difficult and more technical second part of the course. She finished 11 hundredths of a second behind Bassino.
The silver medal was Shiffrin’s 12th career medal at the world championships. She is the first woman in the modern era to accumulate so many individual medals at the world championships. She won her first medal ten years ago in Austria at the age of 17. It was his 12th medal in just 15 world championship starts.
How does that play into his pursuit of other records?
In January, Shiffrin broke Lindsey Vonn’s record for most World Cup victories by a female skier, earning her 83rd victory on the top alpine skiing circuit. Then she won two more races in quick succession, putting her one shy of Ingemar Stenmark’s overall record.
But the skiing schedule put Stenmark’s pursuit on hold until March. Over the next two weeks, Shiffrin and other top skiers will compete in the world championships.
World Championship races are separate from World Cup races, which are the regular tour stops that take place throughout the winter in North America, Europe and occasionally Asia. The World Cup determines the best overall skier in all events and the best skier in each discipline. Winners receive crystal globes. Shiffrin has plenty – 13 so far, with more on the way at the end of this season.
“It’s been such a crazy, amazing season,” she said Monday, when things weren’t so amazing.
How are the world championships going so far?
Shiffrin had a rocky start. In the first event, the Alpine Combined, which features a super-G run followed by a slalom run, Shiffrin appeared to be heading for a victory from behind at the bottom of the slalom hill.
Shiffrin had skied the sixth-fastest super-G race, but that left her 96 hundredths of a second behind the leader, Italian Federica Brignone, forcing her to ski aggressively in a high-risk, high-reward slalom. She was making up time every split time, and the computer simulations projected her taking a three-tenths-of-a-second lead.
But as she attempted to navigate a rough patch of snow about five gates from the finish, Shiffrin lost her balance and ended up straddling one of the following gates. This disqualified her from the contest. She said Wednesday that she learned in the combined that she would have to ski aggressively from the start in the super-G if she was to have a chance at the podium.
The bobble echoed the series of slips and skids at the Beijing Olympics last year, when Shiffrin failed to finish three individual events and was off the podium in two others.
Shiffrin knew the questions would come.
“I thought I was going to cross the mixed zone and everyone is going to ask if it’s Beijing again,” she said, but that was the price she knew she might have to pay for. the “full throttle ski” that taking the lead was going to require.
“I’m not afraid of the consequences,” she said.
The descent is scheduled for Saturday. Shiffrin has a love-hate sort of relationship with the event. She has three career first-place finishes in downhill World Cup races, but has never won an Olympic or world championship medal in this event.
Next week it’s the slalom and giant slalom races, the events that Shiffrin dominates. Fifty-two of his 85 World Cup victories have come in slalom, with the giant slalom accounting for another 19 victories. Shiffrin said that until Monday’s slip, she was feeling great about her slalom skiing. It was aggressive and fearless, and the only thing she didn’t do was cross the finish line.
What else deserves attention?
The men’s downhill, scheduled for Sunday, is usually accompanied by plenty of fireworks. The favorite is Aleksander Aamodt Kilde from Norway, who also happens to be Shiffrin’s boyfriend.
Even though they have the same trade, Kilde and Shiffrin don’t see each other much because men and women rarely run on the same mountain at the same time. Usually that changes with the world championships, but this year the women are in Meribel and the men are in Courchevel, about 35 minutes away. Shiffrin said the first couple of skiers got some quality time ahead of the world championships, but racing was their priority over the next two weeks.
Kilde’s biggest competition may come from Marco Odermatt of Switzerland. Odermatt is third in the season standings in downhill but first in super-G and third in giant slalom.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this article.