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Shiffrin settles for slalom silver but sets new modern world championship record

February 18, 2023, 7:50 am
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her silver medal at the 2023 World Championships. (Giovanni Auletta – Getty)

Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards on Saturday broke the modern world championship record with her 14th medal — a sliver in slalom behind Canada’s Laurence St-Germain.

Mikaela Shiffrin

Shiffrin was leading after the first run but wound up .57 seconds behind St-Germain in the second run. Germany’s Lena Duerr was .69 seconds behind St-Germain for the bronze.

“I was really not expecting this, obviously. It’s unbelievable,” St-Germain said, according to the Associated Press. “I attacked, had a bit of a mistake, just thinking go down, go down, go down, and it worked out, I guess.”

AP also reports: “It was the first gold for Canada in women’s slalom since Anne Heggtveit won at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, which also counted as the world championships. St-Germain’s previous best result at major championships was sixth in the slalom at the 2019 worlds. Sixth is also her best finish in a World Cup slalom, in Levi in 2020.”

At these world championships in Courchevel and Meribel, France, Shiffrin wound up with a silver in super-G, a silver in slalom and a gold in giant slalom, bringing the 27-year-old’s total to an astounding 14 world championship medals in 17 starts. Seven of those have been gold (including a slalom win at the worlds in Beaver Creek in 2015), tying the modern record for the most individual championships.

The all-time worlds record is 15 medals accumulated by German skier Christl Cranz during the 1930s when the event was held every year. The championships are now held every two years between the Winter Olympics, which are every four years. Shiffrin is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist in GS and slalom.

She’ll have to wait till Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, hosts the world championship in 2025 to see if she can break Cranz’s overall record for the most medals. This was the last women’s even of these world championships, with the regular World Cup circuit resuming next month.

Shiffrin this season leads the chase for what would be an American record fifth overall title and has broken the record for the most women’s World Cup victories with 85, passing former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn’s mark of 82. Shiffrin is just one win behind the men’s record-holder, Ingemar Stenmark, who won 86 times on the circuit in the 70s and 80s.

Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team on Saturday’s slalom:

Mikaela Shiffrin of the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team won her third medal to finish out the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Meribel-Courchevel, taking second place and a silver medal in the slalom. It is Shiffrin’s 14th World Championship medal in her career—the most of any alpine skier in the modern era. 

Laurence St-Germain, a University of Vermont All-American who races for Canada, continued Canada’s incredible World Champs by winning a gold medal. This was the first time St-Germain has finished in the top five in a World Cup-level ski race and it is the first slalom gold for Canada in 63 years. Laurence started bib 18, finished third after first run and jumped up to the top of the podium after an aggressive second run. Lena Duerr of Germany, a regular on slalom World Cup podiums, was third to win her first career World Championship medal.

“Today was incredible,” said Shiffrin. “It was such a joy to race today, especially after the last two weeks and everything that has happened. … I was so happy with my first run and really happy with a lot of sections on my second run. Here and there, I backed off a little bit and it’s not enough for gold. And Laurence—what an exciting day for the Canadian team! Really really happy for them.”

Shiffrin held the lead after first run, but tricky light and deteriorating snow, along with exhaustion following a long two weeks of racing, slowed her down to finish just behind St-Germain in second place. 

“For me, it wasn’t the conditions; it was the end of two weeks,” said Shiffrin. “If I’m a little bit tired, I cannot move quick enough in slalom. I can move quick enough, of course, I have a silver medal, but somebody can move faster. I know how I want to ski it, but I didn’t execute it the whole way from top to bottom so it’s not enough for gold. You can lose a second so fast.” 

Shiffrin holds more World Champs medals than any athlete in modern alpine skiing history. She broke the record with her gold medal win in the giant slalom on Thursday and continues to build on the record with her 14th medal today. She also has seven World Championship gold medals, which is tied for the record of most gold medals in history. 

Katie Hensien, who won a World Championship gold in the team event earlier in the week, finished 26th. “I was really happy about my first run—some mistakes but all in all some solid skiing,” said Hensien. “Second run wasn’t it for me, but I’m happy to take away two runs today. Plus my GS performance, I’m happy I’m taking the right steps forward and it’s showing.”

Rounding out the Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team, Nina O’Brien did not finish her first run and Ava Sunshine did not finish the second. Paula Moltzan announced that she would be returning back to the U.S. for surgery after breaking her hand in the team parallel where she won gold and plans to return to the World Cup when she has recovered. 

The athletes now head back to the World Cup circuit to finish out the year, with Shiffrin eying Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup wins. Shiffrin currently has 85 wins, one victory shy of the overall record. She is expected to compete next in Kvitfjell, Norway.

The World Championships wraps up tomorrow, Feb. 19, with the men’s slalom. Catch the replay of Shiffrin’s gold medal-winning World Championships GS on NBC this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET and today’s slalom race on NBC tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. ET. 

Women’s slalom

2023 FIS World Ski Championships Live Coverage Presented by Stifel Schedule

All times EST
Check local listings, subject to change.

Saturday, Feb. 18
2:30 p.m. – women’s giant slalom – NBC*

Sunday, Feb. 19
4:00 a.m. – men’s slalom (run 1) – Peacockskiandsnowboard.live
7:30 a.m. – men’s slalom (run 2) – Peacockskiandsnowboard.live
3:00 p.m. – women’s slalom – NBC*

*encore presentation 

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