Mikaela Shiffrin is officially the Snow Queen. The American slalom ski racer secured her seventh win in just 14 starts this season in Croatia Wednesday, dominating alpine skiing’s first major World Cup event of 2018.
The Olympic champion from the United States took a slalom by a huge margin for her seventh win of the season, and 38th overall. After skipping two speed races in Val d’Isere last month, Shiffrin leads the overall standings with 1,081 points after 16 of this season’s 38 races. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, who didn’t enter Wednesday’s slalom, trails by 571 points in second.
If Shiffrin maintains her point average, she would finish the season by setting an all-time record of 2,567 points, easily beating the current best mark of 2,414 set by retired Slovenian standout Tina Maze five years ago.
“I don’t know if I will ever be able to do that. It’s not really one of my goals,” the American said. “I also have so much respect for the season that Tina Maze had with so many points, it was incredible. There is a part of me that hopes that nobody ever beats that because she should really be remembered as one of the best ski racers of all time.”
Shiffrin, who is the defending overall and four-time slalom World Cup champion, has won five of the last six World Cup races, including last week’s slalom in Lienz where she led the field by more than a second after the opening run, a feat she repeated on Wednesday.
In the second run, Shiffrin defied strong winds and heavy snowfall to beat Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 1.59 seconds. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was 2.11 behind in third, while Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, the only skier to beat Shiffrin in a slalom event this season, finished 2.24 off the lead in fourth.
“The second run was much closer,” said Shiffrin, who started the final leg with a 1.41-second advantage. “The first run I was really, really aggressive. It seems like, maybe, I was more aggressive than everyone else.”—AP