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Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin padded her overall World Cup lead with a surprise fourth-place finish in a super-G in Cortina, Italy, on Sunday, as Switzerland’s Lara Gut crashed out. The pre-race favorite gave up 50 points to Shiffrin, who now leads in the overall chase by 80 points.
Vail’s Lindsey Vonn rebounded from a crash in Saturday’s downhill to finish 12th on Sunday. Here’s the full press release from the U.S. Ski Team:
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy (Jan. 29, 2017) – Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) showed off her speed skills, coming from bib 31 to steal fourth place in the Audi FIS Ski World Cup super G in Cortina—her best ever finish in a speed event.
It was a bright and sunny day in Cortina with 60 women racing the super G course set by U.S. Ski Team coach Chris Knight. Lara Gut of Switzerland came into the race heavily favored, trying to take the overall lead from Shiffrin, but a crash at a tough blind gate caused her to DNF. The race was assumed over after the first 30, but Shiffrin, running 31st, put down a crazy fast run, even leading a few of the splits, to finish just off the podium in fourth. Staring at the board after skiing through the lights, she let out a yell, surprising even herself by the fast result.
“I felt like I was charging and super smooth,” said Shiffrin, who was just .03 seconds off of the podium. “I really wanted the speed to come to me, instead of backing away from it. That was really fun—it’s a good feeling.”
Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia ran bullet and never gave up first place, taking her first super G win of the year. Sofia Goggia of Italy was second in front of her home crowd, while Anna Veith of Austria returned to the super G podium for the first time in two years in third.
Laurenne Ross (Bend, OR) also skied into the top 10, taking 10th overall—her best finish of the season. She saw the race as a turning point. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction for me,” said Ross. “I’ve had a bit of a tough season so far, but I’m skiing well and I’m going to start trusting myself. It wasn’t perfect—I didn’t have full trust—but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
Dusting off her crashes in Friday’s downhill training run and Saturday’s downhill, Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) skied a solid run to finish 12th overall. “In downhill, especially, I’m skiing well,” relayed Vonn. “Because of the training runs, I have more time to get adjusted to the speed. In super G, I wasn’t very confident today after two crashes and not having as much training. It’s difficult to be confident and really pushing 100 percent. I’m happy I got in the finish today—that gave me some confidence.
Also present at the race was Julia Mancuso (Squaw Valley, CA), who was forerunning the super G. She is still working on coming back to the World Cup after missing the last two seasons due to injury, but she plans on racing at the Olympic test event in Jeongseon after World Championships. “I’ll definitely go to the test event in Korea,” said Mancuso. “This is really only my fifth day—I have less than a handful of days on snow—for speed. I want to be competitive. I don’t just want to start trying to get the points again because I know I’m good enough to win when I’m 100 percent healthy.”
Jackie Wiles (Aurora, OR) skied into the points from bib 40 to take 21st. Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID) continues to pull in good results, taking 24th. Outside of the points, Stacey Cook (Mammoth Lakes, CA) was 34th, Leanne Smith (North Conway, NH) 45th and Anna Marno (Centennial, WY) 50th. Alice Merryweather (Hingham, MA) and Alice McKennis (New Castle, CO) did not finish.
Shiffrin’s result and Gut’s crash meant that Shiffrin added to her overall World Cup lead. She came in with just a 30-point margin over Gut, but put on another 50 points with her fourth-place finish, bringing her total score to 1103 points to Gut’s 1023. The women head to Stockholm, Sweden for a city event before the FIS World Championships kicks off in St. Moritz.
I let the skis run and I could really feel it every turn. I felt like I was charging and super smooth. The surface was amazing. You could feel it when you were clean and feel it when you were dirty. Every turn I felt wasn’t totally clean, I was like, ‘no you have to make up time on this next turn.’ I really wanted the speed to come to me, instead of backing away from it. That was really fun—it’s a good feeling.
[On Lara Gut’s DNF]
I watched her run and she was smoking, up until she went out. The mistake she made—her hand was just a little bit inside. That can happen a lot of times when you’re attacking. She was in the lead. I went in today really planning to charge. My main goal was to try and see how comfortable I could let myself really go direct and take the speed and not be afraid of it and stand on my outside ski. I felt like I did that that run. My plan didn’t change because Lara went out, but I did feel like a lot of girls were giving [the course] too much respect. I didn’t know if I would be the one to change that, but it felt like a pretty aggressive run.
[On what’s next]
I’m planning on going to Crans-Montana—there’s a super G and two combined there. Then, probably South Korea, but I don’t think I’m going to race there. I’m still trying to make sure I have my slalom and GS dialed in for World Champs and then the rest of the season. There’s a lot of things to juggle still.
It’s definitely a step in the right direction for me. I’ve had a bit of a tough season so far, but I’m skiing well and I’m going to start trusting myself. It wasn’t perfect—I didn’t have full trust—but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Every day has been tough to get up from not doing well and keep believing in myself. It’s always a difficult task, but I’m trying to stay calm, trying stay grounded and take every day as it comes and hopefully bring momentum into World Champs.
I know that I can ski better. I know that I can arc more and trust myself more. This will definitely give me a little bit of confidence and enable me to bring that trust into the next races.
I‘m happy with my skiing. In downhill, especially, I’m skiing well. Because of the training runs, I have more time to get adjusted to the speed. In super G, I wasn’t very confident today after two crashes and not having as much training. It’s difficult to be confident and really pushing 100 percent. I’m happy I got in the finish today—that gave me some confidence. I’m just going to take some days off—my body is definitely tired from crashing so many times. So I just need a break and then I’ll be ready.
Every year is different. Every year you have different obstacles to overcome. This year, it’s been tough with no training to come in and really attack. It’s easier in downhill because you have the downhill training runs, but in super G it’s a bit more difficult. I do my best every day and I think I just need a little bit more training. Every year is different. This year is much different. I’ve never missed a few races in the season and then started. When the World Championships come, it’s all or nothing. Hopefully I can get on the podium there.
I’ll definitely go to the test event in Korea. I just want to be in a competitive part. This is really only my fifth day—I have less than a handful of days on snow—for speed. I want to be competitive. I don’t just want to start trying to get the points again because I know I’m good enough to win when I’m 100 percent healthy.
I’m really glad to be back. I love going fast. I’m happy to be here. It’s so good to see our downhill team doing really well. Breezy and Jackie are definitely the rookies and they’re coming on strong. I love in America that we always have a strong downhill team. I’m rooting for the rest of the events, but I see a lot of potential and it’s great to be here as the next generation comes up.
BROADCAST & LIVE STREAMING (times EST)
Sunday, Jan. 29
5:30 p.m. – Women’s super G, Cortina d’Ampezzo – NBCSN