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Shiffrin Surpasses Childhood Hero Schild For Slalom Victories

By Tom Horrocks
December, 29 2018

Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) will be the first to admit that just because she won, it doesn’t necessarily make her the best. With her 36th career FIS Ski World Cup slalom victory in Semmering, Austria, Saturday, Shiffrin became the women’s all-time World Cup slalom win leader, surpassing her childhood hero Marlies Schild.

“Marlies for me is always going to be the best,” said Shiffrin, who also became the first ski racer in history to win 15 World Cup races in a single calendar year. “I wouldn’t be where I am without being able to watch her...yeah (the record) is incredible, but she deserves that spot in my mind. If I can inspire any young athlete as much as [Marlies Schild] inspired me, then I did my job in this sport."

Shiffrin’s 51st World Cup win didn’t come easy. Starting fifth in the first run, she took a .48-second lead over a fired-up Petra Vlhova, who won Slovakia’s first World Cup giant slalom on Friday, but has finished second to Shiffrin in every slalom so far this season. Vlhova skied a strong second run to take the lead, which forced Shiffrin to take some risks as the final starter on the softening track. But thanks to her East Coast skiing roots at Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy, those were familiar risks.

“First run felt quite good, second run was more of a battle,” Shiffrin said. “I was trying to not risk everything, but making speed on every turn. I had a couple mistakes, a couple moments where I was fighting for my life, but it was a good fight.”

Vlhova settled for her fifth second-place result in slalom this season at .29-seconds back, while Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was third at .38. With her victory, Shiffrin extended her World Cup lead to 466 points over Vlhova. She also leads the World Cup slalom and super-G standings and is ranked third in the giant slalom, and ninth in the downhill standings.

Victory number 51 also moved Shiffrin to seventh on the all-time World Cup win list, surpassing Italy’s Alberto Tomba with 50 wins. Sweden’s Ingemar Steinmark is the all-time World Cup slalom win leader with 40 victories.

For the next two weeks, Shiffrin will have the opportunity to focus on slalom with a city event in Oslo, Norway, on New Year’s Day, followed by a night slalom in Zagreb, Croatia, on Friday, before returning back to Austria for another slalom in Flachau on Jan. 8.

Women’s slalom

All times EST.
Preliminary schedule, subject to change
*Same-day delayed broadcast

Saturday, Dec. 29
2:30 p.m. - Men’s super-G - Bormio, ITA - NBCSN*
5:00 p.m. - Women’s slalom - Semmering, AUT - NBC*

Tuesday, Jan. 1
10:30 a.m. - Men and women’s city event - Oslo, NOR - Olympic Channel-TV, & NBC Sports Gold