Shiffrin, Vlhova Tie for Maribor Giant Slalom Victory
Joy and disbelief pretty much sum up Mikaela Shiffrin’s (Avon, Colo.) FIS Ski World Cup victory number 55 in Maribor, Slovenia Friday. Joy in the fact that she won her ninth career World Cup giant slalom, but disbelief in the fact that after two runs she tied Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova for the joint Golden Fox Trophy win.
"I saw Petra from the start and I was like “OK, I better up the ante a little bit,’” said Shiffrin, who took a 0.48-second first-run lead, expanding it to0.62-second mid-way through the second run. “It was a fight in the second (run). I almost lost it at the bottom. I was fighting to find the finish line, and a little bit relieved to see the green light.”
Battling low visibility with fog and light mist, Shiffrin looked sharp, but so did Vlhova, who has been inching closer to the World Cup leader in both giant slalom and slalom this season. Vlhova laid down the fastest second run time, moving ahead of Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel by 0.93 seconds to take the lead and put the pressure on Shiffrin.
Shiffrin skied clean through the top of the course, before a slight mistake stole her momentum near the flats leading into the finish. When she crossed the line, she saw the scoreboard go green, a signal that she was in the lead. But it also showed 0.00, which indicated a tie. Mowinckel settled for third.
“All the time we are really close and today we can share first place...I’m happy,” a smiling Vlhova said.
It was Shiffrin’s first win in giant slalom on the Maribor track, so she can walk away feeling like she has ticked that box, “It’s incredible, and it’s the first time I won a GS here - so it’s a really nice feeling,” Shiffrin said. “It’s pretty cool [to share the win with Vlhova], I know she’s been skiing pretty strong in GS - and of course strong in slalom as well - there are some days when more than one person deserves to win the race, and today we were sharing that.”
Both Shiffrin and Vlhova have been building momentum heading into next week’s FIS Ski World Championships in Are, Sweden, where Shiffrin won the slalom last season. Shiffrin continues to lead the World Cup overall, slalom, giant slalom and super-G standings, but Vlhova continues to apply pressure in the slalom standings, trailing by just 80 points with three World Cup races remaining, including Saturday’s slalom race in Maribor.
Of course, there are always records to talk about, and with this ninth career giant slalom victory, Shiffrin tied Tamara McKinney with the most giant slalom wins among U.S. women. Additionally, she equalled Vreni Schneider with 55 World Cup victories in third place all time among women, and joint fifth-place all-time among women and men. It was Shiffrin’s 12th victory of the season, equalling her career best 2017-18 season victory count.
Women’s giant slalom
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Friday, Feb. 1
12:00 p.m. - Women’s giant slalom - Maribor, SLO - NBCSN*
Saturday, Feb. 2
4:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 1 - Maribor, SLO - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
5:30 a.m. - Men’s downhill, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. - Women’s slalom run 2 - Maribor, SLO - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
Sunday, Feb. 3
2:00 a.m. - Women’s giant slalom - Maribor, SLO - NBCSN**
4:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 1 - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:30 a.m. - Men’s giant slalom run 2 - Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER - Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold