Mikaela Shiffrin returned from her brief Christmas break, spent with her boyfriend, Norwegian ski racer Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, to win the FIS Alpine World Cup GS race in Semmering, Austria. The FIS races in Semmering consist of three events this year, the race today having been added to the calendar to make up for the lost GS event from Sölden, Austria, earlier in the race season, which had been canceled due to poor visibility.
Shiffrin was incredibly strong on her first run, finishing an incredible 0.72 seconds ahead of Petra Vlhova and 0.73 seconds ahead of Tessa Worley. Unlike speed events however, there are two runs in Giant Slalom, and the combined time counts. On the second run, the course was faster, and Petra Vlhova had the fastest second run, but it was not enough to take the lead from Mikaela, who was only 0.59 seconds behind her, and the Slovakian skier had to settle for second place overall with third place going to Marta Bassino from Italy. France’s Tessa Worley narrowly missed out on a podium place.
“I felt really good today,” Mikaela said in an interview with FIS, and she certainly looked good as she flew across the icy course. When she crossed the finish line DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” was playing on the speakers as the American race skier claimed her 78th World Cup victory. This puts her just four more victories away from matching Lindsey Vonn’s record and eight more wins from tying with Ingemar Stenmark.
Paula Moltzan from Team USA finished in 10th, while Stella Johansson did not finish her second run, and Nina O’Brien, Ava Sunshine, and Katie Hensien, unfortunately, did not complete their first run.
Shiffrin has gone from strength to strength this season, and we look forward to following her for the remaining two races in Austria, another GS, and a Slalom event before the end of the calendar year. The FIS 22/23 season will continue in January with a double slalom event in Zagreb, Croatia.