KILLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin marked the return of the women’s World Cup to North America by setting yet another record — and the two-time Olympic champion did it Sunday on home snow.
Shiffrin beat Petra Vlhova — her main rival — for her 46th win in World Cup slaloms. That matched a 32-year-old record for most World Cup wins in a single discipline, set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in giant slalom.
The 26-year-old Shiffrin was in tears after her 71st World Cup victory was confirmed.
“Getting to the finish knowing I put everything I could into it, that’s always a special feeling,” said Shiffrin, who has endured two difficult years which included the loss of her grandmother in October 2019 and the death of her father less than four months later.
“I’ve had a lot of incredible memories at this race over the years, and I’ve shared it with family and all the people I love, the people who I love the most in the world. And this year, two of them are not here anymore. So it’s emotional, it’s one of the more emotional ones for sure.”
While Shiffrin hails from Vail, Colorado, she can almost consider Killington a hometown race as she honed her skills nearby at the Burke Mountain Academy as a teenager.
Shiffrin trailed Vlhova by .20 seconds after the first run and, although she made an error at the top of her second run, a fantastic finish ensured she was still fastest on that second run.
Shiffrin lifted her arms over her head to soak in the cheers of the passionate home crowd before cupping her hand to her ear as she beamed broadly.
Then she turned to watch her rival.
Vlhova also made a mistake, and that cost her even more dearly than Shiffrin’s. The overall champion was almost a second slower than Shiffrin on the second run to ultimately finish .75 behind in second place.
Shiffrin had won all four previous World Cup slalom races in Killington. Last year’s event was canceled because of the pandemic.
Wendy Holdener of Switzerland finished third, .83 behind Shiffrin.
Shiffrin moved 20 points ahead of Vlhova at the top of the overall World Cup standings.
“I hope everyone enjoyed watching (the race) because that’s the most show that we have,” Shiffrin said about her battle with Vlhova. “It takes someone who is not only able to do the work and to ski that way, but really does it, and takes care of the fine details.
“She and her team, they have what they need and they’re pushing the limits, and we’re trying to do the same ... every race is an enormous test and it’s very nerve-racking as well.”
Shiffrin won the season-opening giant slalom in Sölden, Austria, but finished second to Vlhova in both slalom races in Levi, Finland, last week.
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