Mikaela Shiffrin’s Year-Long Slalom Domination Comes to An End With Defeat in Croatia

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Mikaela Shiffrin, slalom, 2nd place
Mikaela Shiffrin takes second place in the women’s World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Croatia, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020. Credit: AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta

Mikaela Shiffrin’s year-long domination of the slalom came to an end at the weekend, as she was beaten by Slovakian Petra Vlhova, 24 under the lights in Zagreb, Croatia.

Shiffrin had won the previous six World Cup slaloms dating to February 2019. With a 1.31-second margin, Vlhova recorded the largest margin of victory for anybody over Shiffrin in the slalom since November 2014.

“Some days, I am so-so. With Miki, you have to be always perfect,” Vlhova said. “If I want to win, I have to risk all the time.”

Saturday’s result left Shiffrin one win short of her personal best of seven straight slalom wins, and two short of the record for most consecutive victories in the discipline, set by Vreni Schneider in 1989 and Janica Kostelic in 2001.

“Even if I had no mistake, I think Petra would have been faster,” Shiffrin said. “The only way I could have won is if she skied out or made some really, really big mistake. … That’s not something special for her. She’s able to do that. It wasn’t like she had the best run of her life. She just skied really well. I think she can do this again and again and again.”

The duo combined to win the last 24 World Cup slaloms (19 for Shiffrin, five for Vlhova). Vlhova’s staff has been known to film Shiffrin’s training sessions.

Shiffrin remains on 64 career World Cup wins, 18 shy of Lindsey Vonn‘s female record, and 22 short of Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record. She also remains tied with Vonn for the most wins for a woman in a single discipline of 43.

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