EagleVail’s Mikaela Shiffrin on Saturday broke the World Cup record for the most wins in a calendar year with a slalom win in Semmering, Austria – her 15th victory of 2018.
Shiffrin, 23, vaulted past Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s mark of 14 wins in a calendar year, spread over two World Cup seasons. Saturday’s win was the eighth so far this season for Shiffrin, who is well on her way to her third straight overall World Cup title.
The EagleVail racer was first after a dominant first run that saw her crack the 50-second barrier – the only racer on Saturday to do so. She then laid down a solid second run to hold off Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova by .29 seconds. Wendy Holdener of Switzerland was third, .38 seconds back.
The win was the 51st of Shiffrin’s career and puts her just four victories behind retired Swiss great Vreni Schneider for third on the all-time career wins list. Shiffrin also has a shot at Schneider’s single-season World Cup victory record of 14.
And Shiffrin now stands as the most victorious women’s slalom skier of all time, surpassing her retired idol Marlies Schild of Austria with her 36th win in the discipline.
“She is my biggest idol beside Bode Miller,” Shiffrin said of Schild, according to the Associated Press. “When I was young I wanted to be the best skier in the world. I was always watching Marlies, she was a legend. To me, she is the best slalom skier. I wouldn’t be here without her. For me, she has this record for ever.”
Only Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark has won more World Cup slaloms — 40, between 1974 and 1987.
With 100 points for Saturday’s win, Shiffrin cracked the 1,000-point plateau for the season, giving her an overall World Cup lead of 1,034 points – a whopping 466 more than second-place Vlhova with 568.
Vlhova won her first ever giant slalom on Friday, with Shiffrin finishing off the podium in fifth.
Here’s the U.S. Ski Team press release on Shiffrin’s latest win:
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.”
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. Austria’s Ingemar Stenmark 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.
HOW TO WATCH
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*