Edwards’ Mikaela Shiffrin on Friday won her first World Cup race of 2020 — a downhill on the challenging track in Bansko, Bulgaria.
The win was the fifth so far this season for Shiffrin, the 65th of her career, and builds on her overall World Cup lead as she seeks what would be an American record fourth straight overall title.
Just the second downhill win of Shiffrin’s career gave her a 20-point boost over rival Federica Brignone of Italy, who finished second on Friday and is now second in the overall chase, trailing Shiffrin by 280 points.
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team:
Mikaela Shiffrin picked up her first FIS World Cup downhill win of the 2019-20 season in Bansko, Bulgaria. And in only her second race back after injury, Breezy Johnson finished in 10th.
Federica Brignone of Italy took second place and Joana Haehlen of Switzerland stepped on her first World Cup podium in third.
Mikaela was all smiles at the bottom of the course when she came down with a lead, even though she was worried that she hadn’t had enough time on her downhill boards this season. “I feel really good,” she said. “I felt so much more confident with my skiing today. The training yesterday was my first run on my downhill skis since Lake Louise, so I was just trying to ski down the hill and be clean if I could. Today I felt better with my line, better with my attitude on my skis and better with my technique. So all of those things ended up piecing the track together really well.”
Mikaela won her first downhill two seasons ago in Lake Louise and was second in the Lake Louise downhill this season, but with only 11 World Cup downhills under her belt, she’s still building her confidence. “I wasn’t confident—I was maybe even a little bit scared,” she said. “But I was like, let’s do it. It’s time to go now—let’s just try. So it was pretty exciting to come to the finish and see that it was fast.”
With her victory in Bansko, Mikaela’s win record brings her to a total of 65—only behind Lindsey Vonn (82) in the all-time women’s list. She also sits comfortably in the lead in the overall hunt with 1,075 points—280 points ahead of Federica Brignone of Italy. Her win also brought her to second place in the downhill standings behind Corinne Suter of Switzerland.
Breezy was stoked to land another top 10 in Bansko after battling back from a knee injury she sustained in June, proving her worries false about skiing on such a technical downhill. “This course in Bansko has been really tough,” she said. “I showed up here and it’s really steep, it’s unforgiving, there’s virtually no flat on it. It’s really easy as a speed skier who’s never even raced a World Cup GS to count yourself out… It’s very reassuring as a speed skier that I can do well on such a technical track. Hopefully I can carry that momentum into the next places we’re going to go.”
Breezy also reminded fans to watch out for the rest of the team, who are skiing fast. “It was really awesome to see Mikaela do well—I’m super happy for her,” she said. “We’ve been training in San Pellegrino and the rest of these girls are definitely slaying in training. It’s just a matter of time before all these things come together. Can’t wait to see that happen for the rest of the team.”
Isabella Wright finished just out of the points in 31st place. Alice Merryweather, Alice Mckennis and Jackie Wiles did not finish, but are thankfully OK.
The women race another downhill on Saturday and a super-G on Sunday.
Sunday, Jan. 26
3:15 a.m. – Women’s super-G, Bansko, BUL – Olympic Channel.com, NBC Sports Gold
3:30 a.m. – Women’s super-G, Bansko, BUL – Olympic Channel*
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.