Mikaela Shiffrin gets 60th slalom win, 97th overall to end season

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Shiffrin had already locked up her record-equaling eighth slalom season title last week in her first race back since hurting her knee in a downhill crash in Italy.

SAALBACH-HINTERGLEMM, Austria — Mikaela Shiffrin capped her season that was marred by a six-week injury layoff with her record-extending 60th win in slalom and 97th overall at the World Cup finals Saturday.

The American star trailed Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden after the first run but ultimately won the season-ending slalom by 0.54 seconds from Mina Fuerst Holtmann of Norway, while Swenn Larsson dropped to third, 0.63 off the pace.

Shiffrin had already locked up her record-equaling eighth slalom season title last week in her first race back since hurting her knee in a downhill crash Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy in January.

The two-time Olympic champion sprained the MCL and tibiofibular ligament in her knee, while also still recovering from a bone bruise she had sustained at the start of the season.

“Oh wow, it’s been a wild season,” Shiffrin said in a course-side TV interview. “I’m happy for the final race of the season to go so well. I’m looking forward to next season already.”

> Video above from Nov. 2023: ‘Breaking records and breaking globes’ the story behind Mikaela Shiffrin’s broken trophy.

Asked about her numbers of wins, Shiffrin took a breath before answering.

“Just a little bit hard to process it all. It’s like these days just make me feel so invigorated, like so alive, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’m trying to soak that all in,” she said.

“I never really focused too much on the numbers, but now I feel OK with them, like it’s not pressure, it’s not anything, it’s just an honor.”

With key rivals Petra Vlhova and Wendy Holdener ending their campaigns prematurely with injuries, Shiffrin has won seven slaloms this season, raising her career tally to 60. No other skier, male or female, has won more than 46 races in a single discipline.

Shiffrin, who turned 29 on Wednesday, said on Instagram the slalom would be her last race of the season, skipping Sunday’s giant slalom and next week’s speed events.

On a first-run course set by Shiffrin’s coach Karin Harjo, Swenn Larsson was 0.11 second faster than Shiffrin.

“I felt really good on my skis, I thought my equipment for this run was really good set up. I was pushing,” said Shiffrin, referring to the challenging course conditions after overnight rain softened the snow.

“It was quite OK, so I could ski how I wanted. Ideally, I can be maybe a little bit more clean on a couple of sections, but actually I think I pushed about to my maximum there.”

Shiffrin had won the season-ending slalom at the traditional World Cup finals a record six times before in her career, but not since 2019.

The next women’s race at the finals is the giant slalom on Sunday, when Swiss leader Lara Gut-Behrami starts with a 95-point lead over her Italian challenger Federica Brignone.

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Mikaela Shiffrin gets 60th slalom win, 97th overall to end season

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