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Riding high after record third-straight gold, Shiffrin can coast to overall title

February 19, 2017, 9:18 am
shiffrin wins gold

Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin reacts to her win on Saturday. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Giovanni Auletta)

Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin heads into the final month of the World Cup ski-racing season with a relatively comfortable 414-point lead in the chase for the coveted overall title.

With the unfortunate season-ending injury of her nearest pursuer, Switzerland’s Lara Gut, the drama of the overall chase decreased significantly with just four events remaining on the calendar.

Shiffrin now doesn’t even need to consider the speed events of super-G and downhill the next two weekends in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, and Jeongseon, South Korea, and can instead focus on her signatures technical events of slalom and giant slalom on home snow at Squaw Valley, California, and Aspen — site of the World Cup Finals March 13-19.

Shiffrin won the last two races she competed in at Aspen last year and is also riding high after winning her third straight World Championships slalom gold at St. Moritz, Switzerland over the weekend. Here’s that press release from the U.S. Ski Team:

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (Feb. 18, 2017) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) became the first female skier in 78 years to win three consecutive World Championship slalom titles at the 2017 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships Saturday.

In explosive fashion under a bright blue sky and skiing on a rock-hard course, Shiffrin matched Germany’s Christl Cranz (1937, 1938, 1939) as the only ski racers to win three slalom titles in a row.

Winning the first run by 0.38 seconds over Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, Shiffrin crushed the second run, on a course set by her coach Mike Day, to extend her margin of victory to 1.64 seconds over Holdener, who finished second, and 1.75 seconds over Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter in third. Resi Stiegler (Jackson, WY), competing in her eighth World Championships, finished 11th. Megan McJames (Park City, UT) was 36th.

“I heard the crowd screaming for Wendy and I knew she must have had a great run, and I just thought you know what, ‘today’s my day, not yours,’” said Shiffrin, who finished the second run with her characteristic explosive fashion, gaining more than a half second from the third split to the finish.

Shiffrin, who just seems to have one extra gear at top speed over the rest of the field, skied a solid first run to shake out the nerves, before cutting loose on the second run.

“My nerves were higher the first run,” she said. “Second run I thought that I’m halfway there, but everything could disappear in one second, so just focus. I felt (my) confidence building and building, and when I got into the gate, I was ready.”

However, the time she spent at the start waiting for her second run after Holdener moved into the lead “felt like I was standing there forever,” she added. “So I just thought, ‘pretend they are cheering for you and go for it!”

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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