Not known for exuberant victory celebrations, two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin on Tuesday let out a loud scream after crossing the finish line in a night slalom.
In the last slalom before next month’s world championships, Shiffrin ended a 13-month victory drought in her strongest discipline and earned her 100th FIS Alpine Ski World Cup podium.
Shiffrin said that the win felt like a fresh start.
“I felt, like, inspired, I just felt alive. I was pushing. It’s hard to explain. I wish I could explain,” said the American, who was away from the circuit for much of last year because of the death of her father and a back injury.
Racing in light snowfall under the lights, Shiffrin sealed a record 44th slalom victory with a time of 1 minute, 47.92 seconds, holding off Katharina Liensberger of Austria by 0.19 seconds.
“It feels a little bit like a new beginning,” Shiffrin said. “Most of my wins and my best races are behind me. It’s already happened, and, at 25, it’s weird to think the bulk of my best racing in my career is already over.”
“You can’t really move forward until you stop trying to go back, and I’m having a difficult time with that,” she said. “It’s hard not to want that, to just want life to be like it was before Feb. 2. I’m probably going to be struggling with that for a while, but I think that tonight was a pretty big step.”
The result earned her a 68th World Cup victory, leaving her 14 victories behind fellow American Lindsey Vonn, who holds the record for most wins by a woman.
Those milestones were not on her mind, though, she said.
“This slope has kind of tripped me up the last several years. I just wanted to ski strong,” Shiffrin said. “It was really fun.”
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