Shiffrin comes from behind to claim season slalom title


In a victory reminiscent of her come-from-behind performance at the World Championships, Mikaela Shiffrin proved she truly is the best slalom racer in the world Saturday, skiing a fiery second run to claim her first crystal globe and put an exclamation point on an historic season.

Do you think she’ll have anything to talk about with David Letterman on Tuesday?

The now-18-year-old superstar sat in fourth position after the first run behind Bernadette Schild, Kathrin Zettel and Tina Maze, who held a 0.58-second advantage over the field heading into the afternoon (1.17 over Shiffrin).

The stakes were high. With Maze leading Shiffrin in the World Cup slalom standings by seven points, it was winner take all in Lenzerheide.

Shiffrin kicked out fourth-to-last, reflecting her first-run finish position, and looked shaky out of the start, her skis breaking away in the first 15 or 20 turns of the race. But as she often does, Shiffrin quickly found her legs and absolutely annihilated the midsection and lower part of the course to take the lead.

Asked how she stayed so calm, Shiffrin said, “I wasn’t. I was freaking out.”

Maze, who came into these finals a contender for all five crystal globes and has already secured the overall, GS and super G titles, skied a bit too conservatively in her second effort, gradually losing pace on Shiffrin’s time. There were a couple small mistakes, but nothing that couldn’t have been overcome by a more aggressive top-to-bottom performance. The Slovenian ultimately slipped back to third on the day, 0.35 seconds behind Shiffrin and 0.15 behind Bernadette Schild, who is filling in nicely for her injured older sister.

“I’m very full of emotions,” said Shiffrin. “A lot went on today. It’s a little bit crazy. … I was a second behind, and then I don’t even know what happened. I tried to find the zone.

“Straight after the first run, I went to the athletes’ tent and tried to figure out what I needed to do to make it better. It’s hard to do that between runs in a race, but my mom and dad helped. My coaches helped. I asked everybody around me. They all said the same thing: You have to let it go, you cannot hold back because there is nothing to lose.”

It was emotional for both the globe winner and runner-up, as each had to take a moment to compose themselves and process what had transpired. The final slalom point tally for the season is Shiffrin 688, Maze 655, and Veronika Velez Zuzulova rounded out the top three with an even 500.

Shiffrin said winning the title was her goal from the beginning of the season. The World Championships were “the cherry on top of the cake, but this is what I was really shooting for all season, to be consistently one of the top slalom skiers. So this means a lot to me.”

Story by Geoff Mintz
Photos by GEPA


The Scoop
by Hank McKee

Women’s World Cup slalom, Finals, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 16, 2013.
Equipment

Skier, skis/boots/bindings
1 Shiffrin, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
2 Schild, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
3 Maze, Stoeckli/Lange/Marker
4 Zettel, Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
5 Holdener, Head/Head/Head
6 Mougel, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol
7 Hoefl-Riesch, Head/Lange/Head
8 Thalmann, Head/Head/Head
9 Velez Zuzulova, Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
10 Mielzynski, Rossignol/Rossignol/Rossignol

Women’s World Cup slalom, Finals, Lenzerheide, Switzerland, March 16, 2013. … It is the 34th race of a 37 race schedule with two cancellations. … One race (GS) remains. … It is the ninth women’s slalom of nine scheduled this season. … It is the 31st Cup race hosted by Lenzerheide. … The eighth slalom.

It is the fourth career World Cup win for Mikaela Shiffrin, all in slalom and all this season. … She also won the slalom at the World Championships. … It is the 258th US Cup win. … The 62nd in slalom. … She ties Kiki Cutter for sixth among US Skiers for slalom wins. … Third among US women.

It is the first career World Cup podium result for Bernadette Schild. … It is her sixth top 10 result.

It is the 61st career Cup podium placing for Tina Maze. … her 14th in slalom. … It is her 27th podium of the season including three from World Championships.

It is the sixth career top 10 for Erin Mielzynski. … her fifth of the season.

Shiffrin wins the World Cup slalom title 688-580 over Maze. … Frida Hansdotter (2nd run DNF in race) is third with 440pts. … Mielzynski finishes 11th with 188pts. … Other North Americans include Marie-Michele Gagnon in 14th with 163pts, Brittany Phelan 29th with 65pts, Resi Stiegler 31st with 44pts, Elli Terwiel 34th with 36pts and Anna Goodman, 44th with 16pts. … It is the third US Cup slalom title after Phil Mahre in 1982 and Tamara McKinney in 1984. … No American has ever won two. … Maze has won the overall title and boosts her all-time point record to 2314. … Maria Hoefl-Riesch is second with 1101 and Anna Fenninger third with 984pts. … There are three Americans in the top 10 including Julia Mancuso in fourth with 835pts, Shiffrin in fifth with 798pts and Lindsey Vonn in seventh with 740pts. … Top Canadian is Gagnon in 20th with 349pts. … Austria leads the women’s Nations Cup 4893-3481 over the US. … Germany is third with 2845. … Canada in ninth with 750pts.

Results
Lenzerheide (SUI)
FIS World Cup
Ladies’ Slalom

Rank Bib    Name Year Nation Run 1 Run 2 Total Time
 1  5 SHIFFRIN Mikaela  1995  USA   58.84  56.76  1:55.60
 2  15 SCHILD Bernadette  1990  AUT   58.33  57.47  1:55.80
 3  1 MAZE Tina  1983  SLO   57.67  58.28  1:55.95
 4  10 ZETTEL Kathrin  1986  AUT   58.25  58.79  1:57.04
 5  7 HOLDENER Wendy  1993  SUI   58.99  58.38  1:57.37
 6  23 MOUGEL Laurie  1988  FRA   59.58  57.81  1:57.39
 7  6 HOEFL-RIESCH Maria  1984  GER   58.89  58.66  1:57.55
 8  22 THALMANN Carmen  1989  AUT   59.21  58.74  1:57.95
 9  2 VELEZ ZUZULOVA Veronika  1984  SVK   58.94  59.02  1:57.96
 10  13 MIELZYNSKI Erin  1990  CAN   1:00.63  58.09  1:58.72
 11  9 DUERR Lena  1991  GER   59.48  59.31  1:58.79
 12  4 PIETILAE-HOLMNER Maria  1986  SWE   1:00.04  58.79  1:58.83
 13  11 EKLUND Nathalie  1992  SWE   1:00.34  58.68  1:59.02
 14  24 DAUM Alexandra  1986  AUT   1:00.65  58.42  1:59.07
 14  21 ZAHROBSKA Sarka  1985  CZE   1:00.90  58.17  1:59.07
 16  20 LOESETH Nina  1989  NOR   59.82  59.36  1:59.18
 17  26 FJAELLSTROEM Magdalena  1995  SWE   1:14.99  1:00.51  2:15.50
Disqualified 2nd run
   12 BORSSEN Therese  1984  SWE       
Disqualified 1st run
   8 HOSP Nicole  1983  AUT       
Did not finish 2nd run
   25 GUT Lara  1991  SUI       
   16 GAGNON Marie-Michele  1989  CAN       
   3 HANSDOTTER Frida  1985  SWE       
Did not finish 1st run
   19 GEIGER Christina  1990  GER       
   18 SWENN-LARSSON Anna  1991  SWE       
   17 CURTONI Irene  1985  ITA       
   14 KIRCHGASSER Michaela  1985  AUT       

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