March 26, 2023

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Michaela Shiffrin is now one win off Ingmar Stenmark’s record

Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic — American skier Mikaela Schiffrin dominated the slalom on Saturday to claim the 85th victory of her career, overtaking one of the World Cup records set by Swede great Ingmar Stenmark in the 1980s.

She can match Stenmark in another slalom on Sunday.

Shiffrin shared the women’s record of 82 wins with former teammate Lindsey Vonn before she triumphed in back-to-back giant slalom in Italy this week and claimed her third straight win on Saturday.

The American celebrated with a shrug of the shoulder and a bright smile after finishing the race before third-place finisher Wendy Holdner and runner-up Lena Durr came to hug her.

Shiffrin led by 0.29 seconds after the opening lap but lost a tenth of the advantage after pulling wide a few laps early in the second before speeding up and setting the fastest time again to beat the German Durr by 0.60 seconds.

“I knew it was going to have some risks and there’s a chance I wouldn’t finish at all, but I have to do everything I can to get a chance because these women are so strong,” Shifrin said.

Swiss Holdner came behind him at 1.31 in third place, followed by Olympic slalom champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia in fourth place and Shiffrin’s American colleague Paula Multzan in fifth place.

The race was run at the resort near the Czech-Polish border where Shiffrin made her World Cup debut as a 15-year-old nearly 12 years ago. Shiffrin also won when the stadium hosted the last World Cup race in 2019.

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“Wow, I can hear you all so loud. Thanks for the cheering. It’s amazing to be racing for this crowd,” she told viewers during a post-race interview.

Shiffrin laid the foundation for her victory with a clean opening run, as she had a fast start and led her rivals by at least a quarter of a second into the first intermediate time.

It also gained time over most of the racers on a tricky pass halfway up its course, as the track setup allowed for different ways to get through the gates.

“You can snowboard either way,” Shiffrin said. “I was really able to pick up a lot of speed at the end of the course. In the end, I felt pretty good on the run.”

Shiffrin won five of the eight slalom races this season and extended her lead over Holdner to 175 points. She can finish with the title if she leads by at least 200 points after Sunday’s race.

In general, the American won 11 races this season. Only twice in her career has she won more races in a season: 12 in 2017-18 and a record 17 in 2018-19.