Edwards’ Mikaela Shiffrin on Sunday captured a World Cup super-G in Bansko, Bulgaria, for her remarkable second speed-event win of the weekend following a downhill victory on Friday.
A tech event (slalom, giant slalom) terror, Shiffrin once again shifted gears to speed on the technically challenging Bansko course to claim the super-G win over Marta Bassino of Italy by nearly a third of a second. Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland was third.
Perhaps more significantly, Shiffrin’s nearest pursuer in the overall title hunt, Federica Brignone of Italy, failed to finish the race, and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova (third overall) was sixth on Sunday.
Shiffrin grew her overall lead to 370 points over Brignone and 395 over Vlhova as the Edwards’ racer pursues what would be an American record fourth consecutive overall World Cup title and would tie former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn for the most ever by a U.S. racer.
The super-G victory was the fourth of Shiffrin’s career and 66th win overall. Only Vonn, with 82 career wins, has more. Shiffrin also leads this season with six victories after setting the single-season record with 17 wins last season.
Shiffrin took a very aggressive approach to the GS-like course set.
“I took a little bit of risk,” Shiffrin said, according to the Associated Press. “I had a really crazy run. I was going really aggressive. It’s the perfect surface, it’s perfect conditions, and I really like the course, obviously.”
Shiffrin has now won in four disciplines this season but Sunday was her first super-G victory since winning the super-G title last February.
Brignone hooked a gate and went off course.
“Fede is skiing so well,” Shiffrin said of Brignone, according to the AP. “I saw Marta’s run and I thought, ‘that looks really good and fast.’ And I expected Fede would be just going hard again, too. I know that she’s so hungry and motivated and she’s skiing amazing right now. It was lucky for me, unlucky for her.”
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team:
Mikaela Shiffrin took her second win of the weekend in Bansko, Bulgaria, winning her fourth FIS World Cup super-G.
Behind Mikaela, Marta Bassino of Italy grabbed her second second-place finish of the weekend, and Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland was third. “It was a perfect weekend for me,” said Mikaela, who won the first downhill on Friday and was fourth in the downhill on Saturday. “It was super fun, but again—it was a really big challenge.” Mikaela walked away from the weekend with a massive 250 more points to extend her lead in the overall.
Shiffrin put down a risky, aggressive run down the dark and bumpy Bansko track, but it was worth it, as she came out .29 seconds ahead of Marta. The triumph also means she’s won a race in every discipline besides the alpine combined this season.
Mikaela, who has been lauded as more of a technical skier, has been excelling in speed events over the last few years and her confidence continues to grow. “I felt really good on my skis—I felt like I could do what I wanted to do,” she said. “But I had to be really aggressive. It wasn’t always perfectly clean, but it was the fastest way I could ski this hill and this course. I’m super excited.”
The win brings Mikaela’s total to 66 wins—just one shy of Marcel Hirscher’s record of 67 wins—and leaves Mikaela in the lead of the overall, slalom and super-G standings and second place in the giant slalom and downhill standings. But she isn’t counting her chickens yet, having struggled to find the top spot in the last couple of weeks. In fact, this was just Mikaela’s second victory of the calendar year, and she wants to make sure the fans and the media know it’s not easy…even though her skiing looks graceful and effortless. Winning is tough. Winning 66 times is otherworldly.
“This season has been a really big challenge—every single race,” said Mikaela. “There are so many women that are skiing really fast, really strong. Every race is such a big fight and I haven’t been the one on top of this fight every time. Certainly, I’ve been feeling sometimes like the expectations that I have or that other people may have, I’m not quite living up to that. It’s hard not to feel like I’m failing sometimes, even though this is an incredible season.”
Rounding out the Land Rover U.S. Alpine Ski Team, Alice Merryweather skied into the points in 19th place. Breezy Johnson was 32nd and Alice Mckennis was 37th. Jackie Wiles skied out of the course and DNFed but is OK.
The women have more speed events next weekend, heading to the 2014 Olympic venue: Rosa Khutor in Sochi, Russia. Mikaela is undecided about whether or not she will travel to Russia for the speed series.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Sunday, Jan. 26
12:30 p.m. – Women’s super-G, Bansko, BUL – NBCSN*
Note: All televised events to stream across NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app, OlympicChannel.com, and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA app.
Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass, available here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.