Mikaela Shiffrin is close to securing the World Cup Overall, which would be a first in her career. Shiffrin, who celebrated her 22nd birthday on Monday 13 March, is about to become the youngest Overall champion since the 2002/2003 season, when Janica Kostelic won at age 21.
Shiffrin would clinch the sixth ladies overall win by a skier from the United States, following four wins by Lindsey Vonn and one by Tamara McKinney. Shiffrin has won four crystal globes, all in the slalom. She could surpass McKinney (4) for second-most crystal globes in all disciplines among U.S. women behind Lindsey Vonn (20).
The last woman to win the slalom and the Overall crystal globe was Kostelic in 2005/2006. Shiffrin can become the first non-European to achieve this feat. Coming into the final week, Shiffrin has secured 11 World Cup race victories this season, five more than the next most prolific woman – Ilka Štuhec (6).
Only two female skiers have won more World Cup races in a single season than Shiffrin’s 11 this term. Vreni Schneider won 14 in 1988/1989 and Lindsey Vonn won 12 in 2011/2012.
What’s in Mikaela’s ski bag that gives her the added edge? Check it out here:
As the action has now moved to Aspen, CO, for what could be the decisive moment of the season, Shiffrin’s made no secret of why she’s been the dominant force on the slopes.
“I always figured that at the World Cup all the top athletes train every day on snow and getting the miles in,” she says. “So when I made it to the World Cup, I felt I had to ski even more, as some girls have 10 years’ experience over me and I had to make up for that lost time somehow.
“I started skiing double sessions, twice as much as my team-mates, more days, more time in each session, and I’m starting to realize that people don’t actually do that.” – Shiffrin
Those in her entourage from those early days on the slopes to today speak of her phenomenal work ethic. Shiffrin herself jokes that it’s even to the detriment of her support team.
“Usually the coaches or others will say, ‘We have to take a break now as I’ve got to be able to prepare the skis,’ or coaches need to go home and see their families, but I’m like, ‘No, we keep going.'”
But that relentless drive and ambition have turned her from a slalom specialist – she’s the Olympic champion and boasts a hat-trick of world titles in the event – into an all-rounder.
This season’s delivered in victories in the Giant Slalom and Combined, as well as some strong Downhill results.
Shiffrin still believes she’s getting better, and her confidence is visibly growing with every race weekend, though she insists that trying to balance her commitments isn’t as easy as she’s made it look.
“Hopefully I can win races consistently in the future,” she says. “Right now, I’m having to figure out how to balance it all because I’m young and still new to the World Cup. I’m still trying to improve my skiing a lot, so it’s difficult to balance. There’s not enough time in the day to get it all done, but this year I felt like we did a good job of balancing it.”
An inside look at the Phenom U.S Team member is found here in this The Red Bull interview.