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Mikaela Shiffrin of Edwards on Friday tied the all-time World Cup record for most career victories held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark, winning a giant slalom in Are, Sweden. Both Shiffrin and the long-retired Stenmark both boast 86 career victories.
Shiffrin beat Italy’s Federica Brignone by .64 seconds and Sweden’s Sara Hector by .92 seconds to also capture the GS crystal globe for the season, adding to her American record fifth overall title and the slalom crystal global. She’ll have the opportunity to surpass the Swedish great in his home country in Saturday’s slalom.
“She’s so strong that she doesn’t need to be at 100% to win a race. She’s very good at managing her talent,” Stenmark, 66, recently told Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
“She’s a fantastic skier and she doesn’t remind me of anyone from the past because she’s writing her own new beautiful story.”
The retired Swede, who dominated the sport in the 70s and 80s in GS and slalom, predicted the 27-year-old Shiffrin will go on to win 100 or more races on the circuit because of her love of skiing.
Earlier this season, Shiffrin, who grew up in EagleVail and lives in Edwards, passed former Vail resident Lindsey Vonn as the top female alpine ski racer of all time, surpassing Vonn’s 82 victories — primarily in the speed events of downhill and super-G.
“This is just a spectacular day. Oh my goodness,” Shiffrin said in a course-side interview, according to the Associated Press.
Friday was also Shiffrin’s 20th career victory in the giant slalom (six this season), which ties the all-time women’s mark held by Vreni Schneider of Switzerland.
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team:
On Friday, March 10, 2023 at the site of her first career win in 2012, Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team athlete Mikaela Shiffrin won her 86th World Cup race in Åre, Sweden, tying Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark for the most Word Cup wins by any alpine skier in history.
“This is just a spectacular day,” said Shiffrin after the race. “It’s a pretty spectacular position to be in. I don’t take it for granted to be in this place where people ask me when I’m going to win 86 or 87. That’s a pretty cool place to be, even though it can be difficult to focus sometimes, but today I felt like the focus was there when I needed it to be. It was really fun to ski and that is how I hope it would be.”
The win also clinched Shiffrin the giant slalom crystal globe, making her the most dominant giant slalom skier throughout the 2022-23 season. She already clinched the slalom globe and the overall title. She also now has a women’s record 20 World Cup victories in giant slalom, tying her with Vreni Schneider.
Stenmark dominated the men’s slalom and giant slalom disciplines for a decade from 1975 before retiring in 1989. Stenmark’s record 86 victories has stood the test of time for 34 years.
“His legacy is synonymous with ski racing,” said Shiffrin. “If anyone knows anything about ski racing at all and even if they don’t, they know Ingemar Stenmark. I don’t think that will ever pass. He set the standard for what ski racing has become.”
Stenmark passed the compliment right back to Shiffrin—the two share a comparable humble nature. “She’s much better than I was. You cannot compare,” Stenmark said of Shiffrin. “She has everything. She has good physical strength, she has a good technique, strong head. I think it’s the combination of everything makes her so good.”
Shiffrin was able to send him a video message after the race, stating, “No matter what I do, it doesn’t ever compare what to what he achieved. Maybe I get the 87th victory or maybe not, but the biggest dream is to be mentioned in the same sentence as you. Who you are and who you were as a ski racer and what you achieved as a human—that’s been the most inspiring thing.”
The new record comes just 46 days after Shiffrin claimed the title of the winningest woman alpine skier in history with 83 victories when she won the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Kronplatz, Italy.
Shiffrin had a stand-out day in Åre, winning first run by almost six tenths and skiing a smart second run to take the win by .64 seconds. This was her second time clinching the giant slalom globe for the second time in her career. She came through the finish and put her hands over her face second run, as her Stifel U.S. Alpine Ski Team teammates celebrated in the finish. This is Shiffrin’s 12th victory of the 2022-23 season.
Shiffrin’s 86th victory came at the venue of her first World Cup win in 2012. Now 27 years old, Shiffrin is rewriting alpine skiing history for generations to come.
“86 wins is truly remarkable, but what makes Mikaela profoundly special is her kindness, humility and ability to inspire the world,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, President and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “We are so proud to have her as part of our team. We are excited to see her break the record and continue to dominate for years to come.”
Shiffrin’s success began at a young age. At only 17, Shiffrin won her first World Cup in an Åre, Sweden slalom in December 2012, and became the second-youngest American to win an alpine World Cup. While she originally specialized in slalom, and continues to be dominant in the discipline, having won six of the nine slalom races this season alone, she expanded her repertoire over the years to become a force in all six disciplines. In 2019, she became the first ski racer in history to win in every event: downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, alpine combined and parallel.
Shiffrin took her first giant slalom win in 2015 at the season-opener in Soelden. Her first super-G win was in Lake Louise, Canada in 2019, where she also won her first downhill in 2018. She won an alpine combined in Crans-Montana, Switzerland in 2017 and her first parallel at a city event in Stockholm, Sweden in 2017.
Shiffrin holds 12 World Cup crystal globes in three different disciplines, including four overall titles, as well as 14 World Championships medals—seven golds, four silvers and three bronzes—and three Olympic medals. She has also already clinched the 2023 slalom, giant slalom and overall globe.
Shiffrin next races on the slalom on Saturday in Åre where she could break the record.