Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after winning her 83rd World Cup race, a new record
Plan de Corones (Italy) (AFP) - Mikaela Shiffrin got the waiting over as she became the most successful woman in World Cup skiing history by claiming the 83rd victory of her illustrious career on Tuesday.
American star Shiffrin is now alone at the top of the world thanks to a thrilling giant slalom win in Kronplatz which moved her ahead of compatriot Lindsey Vonn and ever closer to the overall wins record of 86 held by Swedish icon Ingemar Stenmark.
“I don’t think there are words to explain the feelings because during the day it’s stressful, sometimes peaceful, sometimes nervous, sometimes excited,” Shiffrin told Eurosport.
“And these days, with two runs and everything, they’re long days, they’re exhausting, but at the end of it there’s so much excitement, there’s too much excitement to feel (anything).”
At 27 years old Shiffrin is in position to blast past Stenmark and could even draw level with him before next month’s World Championships in Courchevel and Meribel.
On Tuesday, Shiffrin was 0.13sec ahead of Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami after the first run.
Shiffrin was fastest in the second run to beat reigning giant slalom world champion Gut-Behrami by 0.45sec. Home hope Federica Brignone completed the podium some 1.43sec off the pace.
“I was a bit nervous for the second run but mostly I hate waiting,” she later said through the US ski federation.
“Finally when it was time to go, everything went quiet and I just pushed as hard as I could every turn. It was pretty amazing to come to the finish and see that I was quite fast.
“It’s still hard for me to believe that I have the mental focus again to be strong on the second run. It’s something I don’t take for granted.”
The historic victory allowed Shiffrin to move top of the giant slalom standings, 49 points ahead of Italian Marta Bassino who finished 10th.
Mikaela Shiffrin realises after crossing the finish line that she has broken the record for most World Cup wins for a woman
The American also extended her lead on her closest rival Gut-Behrami at the top of the overall standings to 556, as a fifth crystal globe looks an almost certainty.
“These numbers are just insane to me,” said Shiffrin’s boyfriend Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who gained the most recent of his 20 World Cup victories in the Kitzbuehel downhill last Saturday.
“I can’t really describe it, but the way when I talk to her, she’s just enjoying skiing,” the Norwegian added. “She loves it, she loves to get better.
“Her mindset is just different, and that’s why she’s a brilliant athlete.”
- ‘Carry the torch’ -
Vonn congratulated Shiffrin through the US ski federation citing 1998 Olympic champion Picabo Street.
“Reaching this milestone is an incredible accomplishment,” said Vonn. “Picabo Street inspired me to become an Olympian.
“Throughout my career I always tried to be the role model for kids that Picabo was for me, and now it is Mikaela’s turn to carry that torch.
“Congratulations on raising the bar for all skiers to come.”
Next stop is the record held for a generation by Stenmark, who dominated the men’s slalom and giant slalom disciplines for a decade from 1975 before retiring in 1989. Shiffrin will have a chance to draw one closer to him at Kronplatz on Wednesday with another giant slalom race.
“I hope she doesn’t get to number 84 straight away because I would like to do something tomorrow,” joked Brignone.
There are also two races this weekend at Spindleruv Mlyn in the slalom discipline from which 51 of her World Cup wins have come.
Shiffrin has bounced back in emphatic style after a nightmare Beijing Olympics last year where she failed to win a single medal.
“It’s pretty incredible to be part of this competition, you have to be pushing on the limit…” she said.
“If you make one mistake, if it’s a big enough mistake then you’re off the podium. So you have to be taking the risks and sometimes it’s going to be good and sometimes it’s not.
“I think it’s important that we always take the good pieces of our skiing and keep trying to push because that’s what’s really exciting.”