Mikaela Shiffrin on Tuesday won the last FIS Alpine Ski World Cup women’s slalom before the Beijing Olympics to take her 47th victory in the discipline and smash a record the US skier had shared with Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark.
The double Olympic gold medalist, who shed tears at the finish, has now won more races in a single discipline than any other skier, male or female, in World Cup history.
Stenmark won 46 men’s giant slaloms in a career stretching from 1973 to 1989.
Tuesday’s race was originally scheduled for Flachau, Austria, but was rearranged to a long, steep piste usually reserved for men’s races, due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in that resort.
“I’m just crying a lot lately,” said Shiffrin, who has had back problems and then missed two races last month after testing positive for COVID-19 before a rare non-finish in Slovenia on Sunday.
“It’s such a privilege to race on this slope, and all I wanted to do today was earn that, deserve it, because it’s iconic. I was geeking out this morning... I can’t believe that we can be here,” she said. “It’s just quite special to be sitting here now. It’s like it didn’t happen.”
The American now has 73 World Cup wins in total, 13 short of Stenmark’s all-time record.
Shiffrin, 26, had been only fifth after the opening leg in Schladming, Austria, but dominated the second run down the floodlit piste.
Slovakian Petra Vlhova, who had won five of the previous six slaloms and led after the first leg, had to settle for second with the consolation of securing the season title for the discipline.
While Shiffrin piled on the pressure with her powerful second run, two of the final four — Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener and Canada’s Ali Nullmeyer — skied out.
Vlhova, last to go, saw her 0.42 second advantage melt away as she finished 0.15 behind the American overall World Cup leader. Germany’s Lena Duerr took a distant third place.
The Beijing Games start on Feb. 4 and Shiffrin has plans to race all five individual events there.
The next women’s World Cup races are a downhill and Super-G in Zauchensee, Austria, at the weekend.
Lia Thomas has made a splash in US collegiate women’s swimming with her dominant performances for the University of Pennsylvania, but just a few years ago, she competed on the men’s team. The 22-year-old’s runaway success in the pool this season has reignited debate about inclusivity in sports and the competition requirements for transgender athletes. Thomas’ case has already prompted the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to amend its policies, and USA Swimming, which governs the sport at the elite level, is considering changes as well. In one of only a few interviews given since the controversy ignited, Thomas said she realized she
Australian Open organizers yesterday said that the safety of Peng Shuai remains their “primary concern” even as security officials at the Grand Slam forced fans to remove T-shirts referring to the Chinese former doubles No. 1. Drew Pavlou of Brisbane posted a video on Twitter showing Max Mok, a pro-democracy campaigner from Hong Kong who announced his intention to contest the Melbourne marginal seat of Chisholm in this year’s federal election, and a fellow spectator speaking with a member of Tennis Australia security who confiscated a banner and asked them to remove their T-shirts, which featured a photo of Peng on
Japan’s Mai Mihara on Saturday put her bitterness at missing out on a spot in the Winter Olympics behind her by winning gold for the second time in the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, as the US enjoyed a one-two in the pairs event. Mihara’s fourth-place finish at the Japanese nationals ended her hopes of competing in a first Winter Games in Beijing, but she held her nerve in Tallinn to reclaim a title she won five years ago. In the pairs, Audrey Lu and Misha Mitrofanov survived a fall in the free skate to win gold by an 8.16-point margin
DAY OF SHOCKS: British teen Raducanu, making her Melbourne debut, struggled against Kovinic, as third seed Muguruza and sixth seed Kontaveit also exited Daniil Medvedev yesterday tamed Nick Kyrgios to surge into the Australian Open third round and avoid joining Garbine Muguruza and Emma Raducanu on the list of high-profile casualties. Also out on a day of shocks was former world No. 1 Andy Murray, losing to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel in straight sets, as the Grand Slam roared into life on day four. Second seed Medvedev is the highest seed left in the men’s draw and the favorite after the deportation of reigning champion Novak Djokovic on the eve of the tournament. The 25-year-old Russian faced a stern test of his title credentials — and