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EagleVail’s Mikaela Shiffrin set yet another record with a fourth straight world championship gold medal in the slalom Saturday in Are, Sweden, coming back in the second run despite a raging chest cold. No alpine skier has ever won four straight golds in one discipline.
One of those wins came in 2015 on her home hill, Beaver Creek, during the Vail Valley’s third hosting of the World Alpine Ski Championships.
Shiffrin also tied the American record of five world championship golds held by Ted Ligety, grabbing her second gold of the 2019 World Alpine Ski Championships (she won the super-G last week to go with a bronze in giant slalom).
Shiffrin, 23, is now tied with Ligety as the most decorated American ski racer ever, with seven Olympic and world championship gold medals. Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski Team:
Mikaela Shiffrin (Avon, Colo.) won a record fourth-straight FIS Alpine World Ski Championships slalom title with an amazing come-from-behind victory in Are, Sweden, Saturday. Shiffrin’s win was even more impressive considering she was battling not only the best slalom racers in the world but a new opponent – a nasty chest cold.
“Halfway down the (second) run, I ran out of oxygen,” she said. “It was tough today.” It was so tough that at one point before the second run, she coughed so hard that her stomach went into spasms and she couldn’t breathe. Her mother Eileen Shiffrin said to her: “You don’t have to do this!”
In the end though, Shiffrin “just figured I had to be tough” for 60-seconds and she credited her team with the victory. “My whole team was around me all day and helping to make sure I was drinking…resting… and not wasting energy. Rubbing my back like a baby,” she said.
After finishing third in the opening run, Shiffrin toughed it out and found her groove under the warm afternoon sunshine to absolutely nail the second run, moving into the lead by .72 seconds over Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, and putting significant pressure on the final two racers – Sweden’s Anna Swenn Larsson and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener.
“I knew I had to fight really hard the second run because Anna and Wendy are too strong, and the girls who were behind me were also really close,” Shiffrin said.
On the second run, Swenn Larsson was fast up top but lost time to Shiffrin on the lower part of the course. Holdner, meanwhile, held a .15-second lead over Shiffrin, but quickly lost that and much more when she missed a gate just seconds into her run and was forced to ski back uphill in order to make the gate. She eventually finished 17th.
Swenn Larsson held on to win the silver, her first World Championships medal, and Vlhova won the bronze, her third medal of the 2019 World Championships. Shiffrin’s slalom gold is her fourth-straight, including 2013, 2015 and 2017 World Championships. It is also her third medal of the 2019 World Championships, including the super-G gold and giant slalom bronze.
Paula Moltzan (Prior Lake, Minn.) finished 18th, and Nina O’Brien (San Francisco, Calif.) skied an impressive first run, but missed a gate in the second and was forced to hike. She finished 34th.
Up next, the FIS Ski World Cup circuit resumes Monday with a city event in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday.
HOW TO WATCH
All times EST
Saturday, Feb. 16
1:00 p.m. – FIS World Alpine Championships women’s slalom – Are, SWE – NBC*
Sunday, Feb. 17
5:00 a.m. – FIS World Alpine Championships men’s slalom run 1 – Are, SWE – Olympic Channel-TV, OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
7:00 a.m. – FIS World Alpine Championships men’s slalom run 1 – Are, SWE – NBCSN*
8:00 a.m. – FIS World Alpine Championships men’s slalom run 2 – Are, SWE – NBCSN OlympicChannel.com & NBC Sports Gold
All streams are available via desktop (NBCSports.com/Live, NBCSports.com/GoldandOlympicChannel.com) as well as mobile, tablet and connected television platforms. The NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Gold app and Olympic Channel app are available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. Exclusive commercial-free coverage will be available for subscribers of the NBC Sports Gold Pass.