The ladies’ World Cup season 2018/19 is only a month old with just four competitions and once again there is a name above others in the World Cup rankings: US superstar and two-time overall World Cup champ Mikaela Shiffrin has already established herself atop the standings with three podiums, including two victories and no result below a 4thplace!
No longer a child prodigy, Shiffrin today is a World Cup veteran who goes from victory to victory, rewriting history in the process. Her third-straight Killington, Vermont, slalom victory on Sunday, 25 November was #34 which means that she equalled the mark of the Swiss legend Vreni Schneider and that at the age of 23. She now trails – by one win – the all-time slalom record of Austria’s Marlies Schild who has 35 slalom victories.
Slalom has always been Shiffrin’s pillar of strength. Slalom is where she scored her first World Cup podium in Lienz, Austria, in December 2011, at the tender age of 16. She then went on to win World Championship slalom gold at Schladming 2013 and Olympic gold at Sochi 2014, writing history as the youngest athlete in history (male or female) to win an Olympic slalom gold medal.
It comes as no surprise that Mikaela Shiffrin is set to defend her World Championships gold medal at Åre in February 2019. A gold on16 February would imply a four-peat for Shiffrin in slalom, another record which would put her on par with Christl Cranz of Germany. But it seems that Shiffrin might be going for more than that: beating the tally of Anja Pärson who scored three gold medals and one bronze at Åre 2007.
At the season opening FIS Forum Alpinum in Sölden in October, Shiffrin said:
– Slalom and giant slalom are definitely my focus at the World Championships. And I will likely also race the alpine combined. If everything goes well, my training is good and I am feeling strong, I might race the super-G and downhill too. I did not race the speed events at the Finals but those courses look so fun and well prepared!
There is no question that Mikaela Shiffrin can also ski speed. She has already won World Cups in the downhill and alpine combined. Indeed, she has won at least one World Cup in each event from the downhill to slalom, only missing a triumph in the super-G. Will her first win in super-G at the highest level happen in Åre on 5 February? Stay tuned as the story evolves, starting with the ladies’ speed season opener at Lake Louise from 30 November 2018.
Mikaela Shiffrin in a nutshell (as of 29 November 2018)
Born: Vail, Colorado on 13 March 1995
Family: Father Jeff, Mother Eileen, Brother Taylor
Results: Two Olympic gold medals, two Overall World Cup titles, three World Champion titles (2013, 2015, 2017), 45 World Cup victories
Next record: Shiffrin’s first super-G win would make her the first female racer in history to win in all six events. Other ski racers who have recorded victories in five events including Anja Pärson, Pernilla Wiberg, Janica Kostelic, Tina Maze, Petra Kronberger and Lindsey Vonn (none who won in the parallel) and Hilde Gerg (who never won in giant slalom).
Weird fact: Likes napping and can sleep anywhere
The Lake Louise events
Downhill 30 November, 12.30 LOC 20.30 CET
Downhill 1 december, 12.30 LOC, 20.30 CET
Super G 2 december, 11.00 LOC, 19.00 CET