US sensation Mikaela Shiffrin on Saturday set a new record for the most World Cup victories in a single season by winning the slalom in the Czech Republic.
Already assured of a third straight overall World Cup title in Spindleruv Mlyn, Shiffrin finished 0.85 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener to claim her 15th success this campaign. She had been tied with Swiss legend Vreni Schneider, who won 14 races in the 1988-1989 season, when the calendar was shorter.
With the World Cup finals in Andorra still to come, Shiffrin can add to her total.
“The record isn’t very important for me, but it’s a symbol of what is in important in my eyes,” Shiffrin said.
“My objective is to always be strong when I arrive at the start gate, to be ready to win, to climb on the podium. That’s what’s important for me,” she added.
“Yesterday ... I felt disappointment from the first run,’’ Shiffrin said. “So today I wanted to not protect something, like ski with risks, ski to fight and see what was possible. It was really fun to ski.”
It was her 39th slalom win and a 58th career victory for Shiffrin, who turns 24 years old on Wednesday.
It took her to 1,954 points for the season. She is well within reach of the talismanic 2,000 points, which has only been achieved twice: the first time by Austria’s Hermann Maier and the second by Slovenia’s Tina Maze.
“It was OK,” Shiffrin said about conditions in the opening run. “For sure it’s pretty wet snow, so if you make a mistake, it’s pretty quick you slow down. You have to push really hard every gate and always go like forward, forward, forward.”
Shiffrin, was already assured of a sixth straight trophy in the slalom, having obliterated the field on Saturday with a combined time of 1 minute, 38.98 seconds. Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener was second, 0.85 seconds behind.
Petra Vlhova, who on Friday prevented Shiffrin from clinching the giant slalom title, finished a distant third, 2.03 seconds back.
For Holdener, a 25-year-old who finds herself competing against Shiffrin and Vhlova, this was the 21st time that she has stood on the podium in the slalom, but she has yet to reach the top step.
Additional reporting by AP
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