Mikaela Shiffrin holds the globe after coming from behind and winning the Audi FIS World Cup slalom title in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Getty Images/AFP-Fabrice Coffrini)
LENZERHEIDE, Switzerland (March 16) – World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) came from behind to win her fourth slalom race of the season, sealing the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom title of her young career. Shiffrin, who celebrated her 18th birthday March 13th, became the first U.S. slalom World Cup champion since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84. The thrilling race came to a crescendo as Shiffrin erased a 1.17 first run deficit with the fastest final run time to win over Bernadette Schild of Austria and overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia. Maze, who has posted a record shattering 2,314 point season, led the slalom standings by seven points going into the winner-take-all race.
Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) came from behind to win her fourth slalom race of the season, sealing the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom title in Lenzerheide.
With her win, Shiffrin became the first U.S. slalom World Cup champion since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84.
She made history as the fourth youngest woman to win a globe and the sixth youngest woman to win any World Cup title. She just turned 18 on Wednesday.
She was also the third non-European woman to ever win the slalom crystal globe after McKinney and then Betsy Clifford in 1970-71.
It made her the first non-European to win four World Cup slalom races in a season.
She became the eighth woman, and third in a row after Germany’s Maria Höfl-Riesch and Austria’s Marlies Schild, to win the World Championship slalom title and the World Cup slalom crystal globe in the same year.
Shiffrin developed a 1.17 deficit after her first run but delivered the fastest run of the day, winning the race in the steep bottom section to finish .71 ahead of Bernadette Schild of Austria.
The last racer of the day, Slovenian rival Tina Maze, couldn’t edge out in front of Shiffrin’s smooth and fast second run on the tricky course.
Shiffrin appears on The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS on Tuesday evening and on the TODAY Show on NBC Wednesday morning.
QUOTES Mikaela Shiffrin After the first run I went directly to our athlete tent and just tried to sit quietly and figure out what I needed to do to make it better. That’s something that I’ve always done is just analyze what I could do better and make it better. It’s hard to do that between runs in a race, but my mom helped, my coaches helped, my dad helped, everybody. They all just said the same thing, ‘You have to let it go. You cannot hold back. There is nothing to lose.’ So I tried to do that.
I didn’t know I could make up all that time in one run but I think that there’s some luck—it wasn’t just me out there. My whole team was there cheering me on and giving me strength to get to the finish line as fast as I could.
I think that half of this globe belongs to someone else. I want to thank Tina Maze. She has really helped inspire me. It felt good that second run but I was freaking out.
She’s my greatest idol this season and I respect her so much. Some part of me wanted her to win just to prove once again that she’s the greatest skier in the world this season, but I wanted to win because it was my goal and I don’t want to give up my goal. It happened that I won today and I’m really grateful for that.
Winning the slalom title was my goal from the beginning of this year. The World Championships title was amazing, but it wasn’t a goal that I had set. I almost forgot World Championships were happening this year until they happened and that was just a cherry on top of the cake. This was what I was really shooting for all season, to be consistently one of the top slalom skiers. So this means a lot to me.
Yeah, Letterman! I’m so excited about that. It’s going to be really cool. Hopefully I don’t trip when I’m going on stage. If you knew me for longer than a day you would know that I spill things and I break things and I trip a lot. You would not think I’d be good at slalom. So we’ll see how that goes.