Second for Shiffrin in World Cup Finals Giant Slalom
Mikaela Shiffrin finished out the season with yet another podium, snagging second in the 2021 FIS World Cup Finals giant slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland and securing second place in the giant slalom standings. Nina O’Brien was 12th.
19-year-old Alice Robinson of New Zealand—who burst onto the scene in 2019-20 after winning the opening World Cup in Soelden—had struggled to find the podium in 2020-21 until the Jasna World Cup two weeks ago. And she reminded fans that she has returned to form, throwing down a blazing second run to take the win by .28 seconds ahead of Shiffrin. Meta Hrovat of Slovenia was third.
Shiffrin was leading after first run by only .10 seconds, and with the bumpy conditions, she lost a little bit of time to falter to second. But she was still thrilled with another podium to finish off the season. “It was a fight,” said Shiffrin. “Some of it I was having a little bit of trouble, but for the most part, I enjoyed my skiing again. It wasn’t quite enough to win, but it was some really good turns in both runs today. I feel like I have a really good direction with my GS skiing and that’s a really good spot to end the season.”
Nina O’Brien took 12th place with a fast second run to conclude a banner season full of personal best results and seven top-20s for the athlete. She was 17th overall in the giant slalom standings and ended up top-15 on the World Cup Start List.
Surprising only Shiffrin, who wasn’t aware of the standings until a media member reminded her, Shiffrin finished second overall in the giant slalom standings. Marta Bassino of Italy won the giant slalom crystal globe and Tessa Worley of France was third.
Sunday was Shiffrin’s 10th podium in a row, including World Championships. She also scored 10 podiums out of the 16 World Cups she entered throughout the season and won three of the races. At World Champs, she captured four medals. And she was second in both the slalom and giant slalom standings. Her results were particularly impressive, having gone 300 days between races after her father’s death in early 2020, which was difficult emotionally, and battling a COVID-ridden season, which made finding adequate training hard. “It’s been quite wild—a little bit beyond my hopes or dreams even,” she said. “There were a lot of moments I didn’t think we would do the season at all with the pandemic. I was also uncertain about myself personally. It’s quite incredible to be here now and have a good amount of success. It’s also a really big step to get back to this place to be fighting for the podiums in almost every race.”
The overall title was handed to Petra Vlhova of Slovakia. Swiss teammates Lara Gut-Behrami and Michelle Gisin were second and third, respectively. Shiffrin, who had only raced in technical events on the World Cup throughout the season, was fourth.
The men raced slalom Sunday, with Manuel Feller of Austria taking the win with a fast second run. Clement Noel of France was second and his teammate Alexis Pinturault rounded out the podium in third. 2021 World Junior slalom champion Ben Ritchie was the only Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete to start and was skiing fast—ranked in 14th place at the last split—before going out and DNFing. But keep an eye on Ritchie next season; he has been getting faster and faster each race.
Marco Schwarz of Austria won the slalom crystal globe with Noel in second and Ramon Zenhaeusern of Switzerland in third. Pinturault won the overall globe, having clinched it on Saturday.
The race day marked the end of a strange 2020-21 season. What’s next for Shiffrin? “I’m going to go for some training!” she laughed. “I need a little bit of time to fix some things, but I’m ready to go for next season. I’m a little bit tired, but mostly I feel quite a bit of motivation.”
GIANT SLALOM STANDINGS
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EDT.
Sunday, March 21
1:30 p.m. FIS World Cup Finals Women’s Slalom, next-day broadcast, Lenzerheide, SUI, Broadcast NBC
Monday, March 22
12:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Finals Women’s Giant Slalom, next-day broadcast, Lenzerheide, SUI, Broadcast NBCSN
1:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Finals Men’s Slalom, next-day broadcast, Lenzerheide, SUI, Broadcast NBCSN