Mikaela Shiffrin Makes It 2/2 Giant-Slalom World Cup Wins in Semmering, Austria

Julia Schneemann | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin (center) taking home gold, Lara Gut Behrami (left) winning silver, and Marta Bassino (right) getting bronze at the GS in Semmering, Austria | Picture: Mikaela Shiffrin Instagram Page

After smashing the first Giant-Slalom (‘GS’) event at the FIS World Cup in Semmering on Tuesday, December 27, 2022, Mikaela Shiffrin also managed to win the second GS event at the Austrian ski resort on Wednesday, December 28, 2022, taking her tally of World Cup wins to 79. The 27-year-old is having a fantastic start to her thirteenth FIS World Cup season. This is her fifth win for the 22/23 season after winning two Slalom events in Levi, Finland, the Super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and now two Giant-Slalom races in Semmering, Austria.

Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin on the GS course in Semmering, Austria | Picture: Mikaela Shiffrin Instagram Page

The course on Wednesday was faster than on Tuesday, with Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami and Mikaela Shiffrin being the only ones to manage runs of under one minute on the first run. Lara was in the lead in front of Mikaela after the first run by 0.22 seconds. The Italian Marta Bassino was half a second behind in 3rd place, and her teammate Frederica Brignone tied with Sweden’s Sara Hector for 4th place just 0.20 seconds behind Marta and 1.01 seconds behind the leader Lara Gut-Behrami.

The second run in GS is raced in reverse order of the ranking from the first run, giving an advantage to the lower-ranked skiers as the course is less rutted. This meant Lara Gut-Behrami was the last starter, and Mikaela Shiffrin was the second last starter on the second run. The icy course was fairly skied out by then, resulting in comparably slower runs for both the skiers, but Mikaela Shiffrin managed the course slightly better than Lara Gut-Behrami, securing her the victory in front of the Swiss by a mere 0.10 seconds.

An elated Mikaela Shiffrin after besting Lara Gut-Behrami on the second run, scooping up the 79th World Cup victory of her career | Picture: Mikaela Shiffrin Instagram Page

The fastest time on the second run went to Canadian Valerie Grenier and the second fastest to American Paula Moltzan, who had come 12th and 24th, respectively, on the first run. This catapulted Valerie Grenier into 5th place in the combined times and Paula Moltzan into 9th. Paula Moltzan has had her best GS season so far after a ‘Personal Best’ 8th place in Sestriere, Italy, earlier this month.

Today’s Semmering, Austria event will feature the Slalom event, one of Shiffrin’s particular strengths. She holds 49 of her 79 World Cup titles in Slalom alone and could easily take it to 80 World Cup wins today if her incredible winning streak of the 22/23 season continues.

So far, Mikaela Shiffrin has won five of the 15 FIS World Cup events of the season, and there are 23 events to go in the season. If she can keep winning a third of the events, she could beat Lindsey Vonn’s 82 World Cup victories and potentially even Ingemar Stenmark’s record. Sweden’s Stenmark currently holds the global record for most FIS World Cup wins with 86 titles.

Is beating this record a driver for Shiffrin? In an interview with a reporter for the Olympics website the US skier said, “I don’t need that to feel like I accomplished everything in the sport. I just want to keep improving. And hopefully, over the next few years, if I’m improving, it means I’m still able to win races. And then we’ll see the record. And if it does happen, if it happens, then when it happens, I think it’ll probably feel special, for sure. That’ll be amazing, but it’s not any guarantee, and it’s definitely not something that I need. I think more of my goals have to do with the human side of things. For me, over these next few years, it’s like trying to find a way to find more enjoyment in life.”

After her father’s death in February 2020, Mikaela Shiffrin has openly shared her struggles with this tragic loss. In a beautiful essay written for The Players Tribune in April 2022, Shiffrin admitted, “Some days I feel okay. Some days it feels as raw as when we walked into the hospital after our 10-hour flight home and saw him on the ventilator. […]. Some days I have perfect moments. Perfect turns. Perfect technique. I forget about the pain. I remember my dad from a distance, and when I get up on the mountain, it feels like the only place that I can truly breathe. And then, some days, it still just sucks. Some days it’s so hard to put one foot in front of the other. That’s grief. That’s being a human.”

She has managed to move forward despite the devastating loss weighing on her. Regardless of whether she breaks these World Cup records by Vonn and Stenmark, she is an incredible skier who has broken so many other records already, like most World Cup wins in a single discipline, Slalom, as well as being the only skier — male or female — to have won FIS World Cup victories in all six Alpine disciplines. She has shown the world her vulnerability and, always has remained graceful and kind and consistently demonstrated incredible sportsmanship. That’s what makes her an inspiration to those around her. So I hope that, more than anything else, Mikaela finds enjoyment not just on the mountain but in all aspects of life.

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