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Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards tied the modern record for world championship gold medals (seven) and overall women’s world championship medals (13) on Thursday with a narrow (.12 second) win in giant slalom over Italy’s Federica Brignone.
Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway finished 0.22 seconds behind for the bronze.
Shiffrin overcame a mistake near the bottom of the course.
“Yeah, that’s unbelievable,” Shiffrin said in a course-side interview, according to the Associated Press. “I was so nervous, my God. Just … I can’t believe it.”
French skier Tessa Worley, second after the first run, slid off course in her second run in Meribel, France.
“This is not an easy position, with the home crowd favorite to … I mean, thank you for cheering for me anyway,” Shiffrin said after picking up her 13th world championship medal in just 16 career starts.
Shiffrin tied Sweden’s Anja Pärson for the modern-era record of 13 total women’s world championship medals and seven golds (Pärson won two in team events).
The all-time record is 15 medals accumulated by German skier Christl Cranz during the 1930s when the worlds were held every year. The championships are now held every two years between the Winter Olympics, which are every four years. Shiffrin is a two-time Olympic gold medalist in GS and slalom, which is tied for the American record for most golds in alpine skiing at the Winter Olympics.
Shiffrin announced an unexpected split with coach Mike Day earlier in the week.
The all-time women’s regular-season World Cup winner with 85 victories and counting, Shiffrin is now just the fourth female skier to win world titles in four different disciplines.
Shiffrin has one more very good shot at a medal at these championships with her signature slalom event set for Saturday.
Here’s the press release on Thursday’s race from U.S. Ski & Snowboard:
On a sunny day in the French alps, Mikaela Shiffrin of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team won gold in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships giant slalom. It is her 13th World Championships medal, securing her the record of the most individual World Championships medals from any skier in the modern era.
Nina O’Brien continued her fantastic World Championships after winning gold in the team event earlier this week, taking 11th place in the GS and a scorching second-fastest time in the second run.
Shiffrin, who has five GS wins on the World Cup this season, held the lead after the first run by .12 seconds over hometown French skier Tessa Worley. She skied confidently at the top of the run, but a bobble near the finish made the win uncertain. However, when she crossed the line, she had the lead by .12 seconds. Shiffrin gasped at the time, put her head in her hands and lay down in the snow.
Shiffrin had raced the giant slalom on the same track at World Cup Finals last season and had also held first place after first run, but finished in seventh after second run. It made this win that much sweeter.
“I feel really emotional right now,” said Shiffrin after the race. “After last year’s finals here, I was leading in the first run and the second run in the sun and I lost so much time, I was so sure it was going to be the same thing today. I’ve never been that nervous in my life. I honestly can’t believe it.”
It was Shiffrin’s first ever gold medal in a World Championships giant slalom and her seventh World Champs gold in history; she has gold in four slaloms, a super-G and an alpine combined from previous years. She had medaled in GS in the previous three World Champs, but this was her first win in the event. She had also not won a gold in any of her previous 10 events in the Olympics or World Championships until today.
“The most important thing all season is if I can just focus on really good skiing, so I tried to do the same today,” said Shiffrin, who is just one World Cup win away from becoming the winningest alpine skier of all time. “It was hard today. You get to World Championships and you want the medal so much and you get nervous—and it’s just harder!”
The win also broke the tie she set on February 8 with Norwegian skier Kjetil André Aamodt for the most individual World Championships medals in the modern era with 12 medals. Shiffrin now holds 13—and the record for the most medals. Having only started 16 World Champs races in her career, she has an 81% chance of taking home a medal every time she gets in the start gate.
Behind Shiffrin, Worley fell in her second run in did not finish. Federica Brignone of Italy took the silver and Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway was bronze.
Rounding out the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team, Katie Hensien was 23rd. Hensien also had a very strong second run, placing seventh in the run and only .28 seconds off of Shiffrin.
This brings Shiffrin’s tally to two medals in Courchevel-Meribel. She took home a silver in the super-G last week, and will look for another medal in the slalom on Sunday.
The men next race giant slalom tomorrow, Feb. 17. Watch the re-air of the women’s giant slalom on Saturday at 2:30pm ET on NBC presented by Stifel.
Women’s giant slalom
2023 FIS World Ski Championships Live Coverage Presented by Stifel Schedule
All times EST
Check local listings, subject to change.