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Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards returned to World Cup action Saturday with a second-place finish in a technically tricky super-G in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, that propelled her back into the solo overall lead over Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who finished 18th.
Shiffrin’s 80 points padded her overall lead to 1,106 to 1,039 over Vlhova, the defending overall champion who picked up 13 points.
Romane Miradoli of France won the race, .38 seconds ahead of Shiffrin. Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami, the recent super-G gold medalist, was third, .50 seconds behind Shiffrin.
According to the Associated Press, the racers were congratulated course-side by Swiss tennis star Roger Federer, who owns a home near the Lenzerheide racecourse.
Shiffrin sat out last weekend’s downhill races in Crans Montana, Switzerland, as she rested and recouped some energy after participating in all five individual events and the team competition at the Beijing Winter Olympics, where the two-time Olympic gold medalist surprisingly did not earn a medal.
“This is really great today, that’s a positive thing of course, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Shiffrin told the AP after Saturday’s second. “I finally just enjoyed skiing for a day. I think I’ve been actually pretty awful to be around with my team. The last weeks, not because of the Olympics but of course that’s a big part of it, it’s just been heavy. Everything felt really, really heavy on my mind and on my heart.”
Vlhova picked up 17 points in Crans Montana to tie Shiffrin headed into this weekend’s action.
The women now race a giant slalom on Sunday as the World Cup tour heads into its stretch run with just eight races remaining after competing in 29 so far on the circuit.
Shiffrin is trying to secure her fourth overall title, which would tie former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn’s American record.
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team:
In her return to the World Cup following a difficult Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, Mikaela Shiffrin punched her way back into podium position, taking second in the Lenzerheide, Switzerland super-G on Saturday, March 5.
Shiffrin finished 0.38 seconds behind France’s Romane Miradoli in first to earn her best result in the super-G discipline so far in the 21/22 season. Super-G Olympic gold medalist, Lara Gut-Behrami, finished third, 0.88 off the pace. A podium finish for Shiffrin adds 80 points in her overall standings, keeping her in the lead for the overall Crystal Globe ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova.
“I tried not to think about everything else, just today, just the super-G skiing,” Shiffrin reflected after the race. “I got to the finish line, and thank gosh, I survived. After the last couple of weeks, I really appreciate this.”
Shiffrin DNFed in three technical events at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games, more than she has throughout the last four seasons of her career on the World Cup circuit. In addition to battling the emotional tolls of her first major ‘failure’ on the world stage, the soon-to-be 27-year-old has been reconciling with her ability to move forward in her father Jeff’s absence and pursuing sport amidst war in Europe.
“It’s just been heavy,” she said. “Not just because of the Olympics, but of course, that’s a part of it. Everything has felt heavy on my mind and on my heart, and I’m just really grateful and lucky for the people around me that are always trying to stay positive and help me be positive and help me keep focusing on the sport that I love.”
Her teammates, Bella Wright and Keely Cashman, also grabbed point-scoring finishes, despite a few baubles in challenging course sections. Wright finished 28th in her return to the World Cup circuit, while Cashman finished 30th. Tricia Mangan did not finish.
Next up in the rare race weekend combination in Lenzerheide, Switzerland is the women’s giant slalom on Sunday, March 6.
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST
Sunday, March 6, 2022
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom, run 1 – LIVE, Lenzerheide, SUI, Streaming Peacock
5:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men’s Super-G – LIVE, Kvitfjell, NOR, Streaming Peacock, Streaming Ski and Snowboard Live
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Women’s Giant Slalom, run 2 – LIVE, Lenzerheide, SUI, Broadcast Olympic Channel, Streaming Peacock