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Lindsey Vonn: Shiffrin’s record-breaking is sign of progress

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lindsey Vonn was keeping track from afar when Mikaela Shiffrin matched her women’s World Cup record of 82 wins. Shiffrin won a giant slalom on Sunday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, to draw even with Vonn. While Vonn retired four years ago when injuries cut her career short, the 27-year-old Shiffrin is still going strong. Shiffrin can now break Vonn’s mark in a night slalom scheduled for Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday.

Vonn offered her thoughts on Shiffrin’s record chase as told to AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf.


I’m really happy for Mikaela.

Records are meant to be broken and it’s a sign of progress. And if anyone is to break my record, I’m really happy that it’s an American.

She’s going to continue pushing the limits and continue to inspire other Americans. There were a lot of women who paved the way for me. And now it’s her turn to pave the way for the next generation.

It’s pretty impressive that the top two female skiers of all time are Americans in a sport historically dominated by Europeans. We’re 20 wins ahead of the next woman (Annemarie Moser-Pröll of Austria with 62 wins), which is a substantial margin. So it’s not even really close. It just speaks for our country as a whole and what we’re capable of doing.

Ski racing might not be as popular as it used to be. Snowboarding and other freestyle sports have gained popularity. So Mikaela breaking the record now is really great for the sport. I hope that it generates a lot of kids getting into the sport. Hopefully, she’ll inspire the next American and hopefully Americans will stand 1-2-3 on the all-time list.

We’ve definitely had a very different journey to 82. She’s the absolute perfect technical skier and has also won in the speed disciplines. I was the downhiller who also had wins in the technical races. I unfortunately had many, many injuries, and my road was quite a bit longer. But she’s at an incredible pace to not just reach 82 but go well, well beyond that.

Catching Ingemar Stenmark’s men’s mark of 86 wins was always the ultimate goal for me, but with the injuries I sustained it just wasn’t possible. For her, the sky’s the limit. I don’t think that Stenmark is necessarily the benchmark. She’s going to set the new standard and we’ll just have to wait and see how high she’s able to go.

I knew from the very beginning that she would be the one to break all the records. But to be able to do it at such a young age is really impressive.

And I don’t think Mikaela should vary too much from her current approach. Not racing more speed events has done her well because she’s been able to stay injury free. Her plans are working pretty well. So I would probably just stick to what she’s been doing.

I remember when I first met Mikaela when we were training in Hinterreit (Austria) and she was starting out. I came up to her and I said, “Welcome to the team.” And I know that it can be a little intimidating at first because she was so young. But I said, “I’m always here if you ever need anything.” She was with her mom and she seemed really happy and excited to be with the team. I remember it perfectly.

We don’t get in touch that often, but I reached out to her when her dad passed away and she reached out to me when my mom recently passed away, which I really appreciated. I wrote her for New Year’s and congratulated her on Semmering (Shiffrin won three straight races in the Austrian resort last month) and I told her, “I’m looking forward to watching you break all the records.”

I’ll be watching from afar, though. This is her moment to savor, and I’ll be cheering from the sidelines, like all ski racing fans.

Lindsey Vonn Mikaela Shiffrin stand at the finish area at the Rettenbach glacier in Soelden, Austria, Friday, Oct. 23, 2015.
Giovanni Auletta/AP Photo

Shiffrin’s World Cup wins record pursuit continues in Slovenia

Mikaela Shiffrin’s quest to equal Lindsey Vonn’s career World Cup victory tally of 82 will have to wait, at least one more day. As the old adage goes, patience is a virtue, something not lost on the Colorado ski racer, who never ceases to amaze.

In her first attempt to reach the benchmark — after a weather-related cancellation of a slalom in Zagreb, Croatia on Thursday — Shiffrin came up a little bit short, 1.33 seconds to be exact. The Edwards resident, who remains the talk of the town on the women’s World Cup tour, finished tied for sixth in a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Saturday. She was fifth after the morning run, within striking distance, just 0.31 seconds off Canadian race winner Valerie Grenier’s leading time. It was not meant to be.

“After races like this you feel a little defeated because actually, I felt like my skiing was quite good, but there is a difference between good skiing and the fastest skiing,” Shiffrin said in the Kranjska Gora finish area after the race.

Shiffrin will have another crack on Sunday, as part of the GS doubleheader in the Slovenian resort town, just east of Italy.

“I’m going to look at the video and see kind of where exactly I lost time and what I should adjust and focus on tomorrow to do better,” said Shiffrin, who was 18th in the second run, having bled time away on the unrelenting final pitch of the Podkoren 3 piste.

Shiffrin’s remarkable streak of five consecutive victories, across three disciplines, was also snapped on Saturday.

Vonn, who remains the lone all-time women’s leader in World Cup victories, at least for one more night, still standing at 82, retired four years ago when injuries ended her pursuit of Ingemar Stenmark’s longstanding record of 86. The legendary Swede won his final World Cup race, a GS in Aspen, on Feb. 19, 1989. Vonn’s last triumph was in a downhill in Åre, Sweden, March 14, 2018.

Talk about Mikaela’s record chase continues. While generally not her favorite topic, Shiffrin jokes that she is quickly warming up and becoming amenable to the conversation.

“I think you guys know that I’ve been tired of it since years,” Shiffrin told a large group of gathered media, with a big laugh. “Actually, I don’t mind talking about it and I’m not tired of it.”

“Now, everybody is going to say you have the chance to win 82 races and equalize the record every single race until I actually do it, if I do it,” said the 27-year-old racer.

“The trick is you have to be competitive, but you have to have patience,” she added, once again referring to the record assault. “I’m not maybe the most patient person, but in the key moments I have it.”

Italian veteran Federica Brignone knows a thing or two about breaking records. The all-time World Cup wins leader among Italian women, currently with 20, surpassed Deborah Compagnoni’s previous record mark of 16, in December 2021.

“For sure, the Italian media was always talking about it and my answer was always the same, that I’m just racing for me,” said Brignone, who won her overall title in 2020. “Of course, you have it on your mind, but it pushes you. I just wanted to win more races like Mikaela now. It’s not important when she does it, we know that she is the best racer.”

Coach Mike Day on Shiffrin and team’s record chase

Shiffrin’s seven victories this winter have vaulted her to the top of the overall World Cup standings. Her lead dwindled slightly after Saturday’s result, but she still owns a staggering 369-point lead over nearest challenger Petra Vlhova, who finished third. Shiffrin is seeking her fifth overall title, which would also surpass Vonn.

Mike Day, Shiffrin’s coach of seven years, believes that one famed Colorado ski racer’s pursuit of another champion who has also called Colorado home is a thrilling time for the sport, both in the state, and beyond.

“The wins totals between the two of them is astounding, so I think there should be a lot of pride for the state of Colorado, the ski resorts in Colorado and the ski industry in Colorado at the forefront,” Day said, during an interview in Kranjska Gora. “But I think all of America can be pretty happy with what’s going on with Mikaela now and Lindsey in the past, so for sure it’s a pretty exciting time for all of us.”

However, Day also informs that internally as a team, there is no discussion of chasing records.

“Mikaela does a great job staying focused in the moment, that’s obvious, but we as a team don’t talk about the numbers,” he said. “We do our very best to make sure she is always prepared, and ultimately I think the numbers take care of themselves with good performances.”

Shiffrin and Paula Moltzan finished first and second in the slalom in Semmering on Dec. 29.
Brian Pinelli/Courtesy photo

A second chance in Slovenia on Sunday, hopefully

Mild temperatures and a significant probability of mid-afternoon rain, with the Kranjska Gora finish area situated at 2,805 feet, along with wind gusts up to 17 kilometers per hour, could pose problems for Sunday’s second GS race.

A giant slalom is scheduled for Sunday, weather permitting. There is a significant chance of rain in the afternoon in Kranjska Gora.
Brian Pinelli/Courtesy photo

Weather permitting, Shiffrin, being the consummate professional on and off the mountain, is undoubtedly prepared for the challenge at hand. She thanked the local community and those around the Northwestern Slovenian ski resort, with its six decades of ski racing tradition, for the encouragement.

“I have been getting a lot of great support over the past weeks and especially here as well,” Shiffrin said. “There are a lot of Slovakian fans here too, and they are also very kind to me, which you don’t always see when you are talking about two big rivals.”

And fielding yet one more question about the impending record, coming from an overzealous journalist, Shiffrin remains poised, just as she has displayed charging gates down the race hill, ever since her World Cup debut in the Czech Republic, nearly 13 years ago.

“I wouldn’t say it’s something that you just get done, it’s hard to win races,” Shiffrin said. “What I want to do along the way is feel really proud of my skiing and what I accomplish with my turns.”

Follow Brian on Twitter – @Brian_Pinelli

World Cup notebook: U.S. Ski and Snowboard raises $2 million at Gold Medal Gala

The 56th annual Gold Medal Gala — U.S. Ski and Snowboard’s largest annual fundraising event — returned to New York City on Oct. 27 and raised a record $2 million for the organization. The event included 500 passionate supporters of the team as well as 32 past and present athletes.

“We are immensely grateful to everyone who attended the event, both in person and virtually,” Sophie Goldschmidt, president and CEO of U.S. Ski & Snowboard stated in a press release.

“To be in the same room with some of the best athletes in the world is a privilege and what better way to end the gala than knowing we raised an incredible amount of money to help them achieve their dreams. Thank you to everyone who donated and who continuously supports these incredible athletes year after year.”

During the event, Lindsey Vonn awarded five-time Olympian Shaun White the Golden Goat statue to honor the snowboarder’s transcendent legacy.

“This is a very hard time of year for me because the first races are happening and it always feels really weird to me that I’m not actually on a slope right now,’ Vonn, 38, told E!news in an Oct. 28 story. Vonn retired in 2019.

“But I am adapting to life after competition. I am still challenging myself in new ways, but there’s definitely nothing like racing down an icy mountain at 85 miles an hour. And there never will be anything like it, so I’ll just try to get my kicks wherever I can.”

Cancelled women’s giant slalom to be rescheduled in Semmering

It was announced on Friday that the canceled women’s Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom from Soelden, Austria, which was set to be held on Oct. 21, has been rescheduled in Semmering, Austria, for Dec. 27. There will be giant slaloms on Dec. 27 and 28, followed by a slalom on Dec. 29 .

U.S. Ski and Snowboard appoints snowboard and freeski sport directors

Two longtime U.S. Ski and Snowboard coaches were appointed to new positions on Monday. Former halfpipe head coach, Rick Bower, who has led athletes to 14 Olympic medals since joining U.S. Ski and Snowboard in 2006, was appointed to Snowboard Sport Director. Skogen Sprang, a U.S. Freeski Team slopestyle and big air head coach since 2012, was named Freeski Sport Director.

“I am very excited to continue my work with the U.S. Snowboard Team,” Bower stated in a press release. “Not only are these tremendous athletes, but incredible people to be around. My focus in this new role will continue to be giving them the tools and opportunities to excel.”

Bower is a five-time International Snowboard Coach of the Year and has worked with Olympic medalists Kelly Clark, Gretchen Bleiler and Chloe Kim.

“Rick brings a deep understanding of what an athlete needs to achieve their full potential and how to build a program around those athletes,” Anouk Patty, U.S. Ski & Snowboard chief of sport also stated in the release. “He will lead from experience with passion and purpose and we are super excited to see this snowboard team soar under Ricky’s leadership.” 

Spranger was the U.S. Ski and Snowboard coach of the year in 2021; in three Olympics, he’s guided athletes to eight Olympic medals.

“I’ve been with the U.S. Freeski Team for years and have learned a great deal, which has given me the tools and knowledge to provide even more for this sport and go even bigger in the years to come,” Sprang stated in the release. “I look forward to continuing my work with these incredible athletes for years to come and cannot wait to see how this sport evolves in the future.” 

5 questions for Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey’s Vonn’s memoir, “Rise” reveals never-before-told stories of her life in the fast lane, her struggle with depression, and the bold decisions that helped her break down barriers on and off the slopes.
Courtesy image

Q: Why did you decide to write the book? What was the catalyst for “Rise?”

A: It was the right time in my life to write a memoir. Having just retired from skiing, I could reflect back on things that I have overcome and also what I’ve achieved. When you are in your career, you aren‘t really able to appreciate things because there is always another race you have to prepare for. Writing my book gave me a chance to really reflect and process what I’ve done while also moving on from the sport.

Q: You started penning your book over a year and a half of time, but then you didn’t like it and started over. What did you change from the first version to the second version?

A: The first year of retirement wasn‘t easy for me, and because of that, my first book had the wrong tone. I was sad that I was no longer racing and maybe a bit resentful because, if not for my body falling apart, I would still be out there. After therapy and more reflection I got to a much better place where I could write the book I wanted to write. Something positive and inspiring.

Q: You’ve said that this book helps readers understand who you are as a person, beyond an athlete. If you could describe Lindsey, the person, how would you describe yourself?

A: Honestly, I‘m a pretty simple person. I am a Minnesota girl who had a dream to become an Olympian. I am determined, hardworking and driven but also a caring person. But you‘ll get to know me more through my book as I can’t truly describe myself in a few sentences.

Q: How has life away from ski racing allowed you to heal your body?

A: Unfortunately, it hasn’t healed at all. I don‘t have to grind every day to prepare my body to ski 85 mph down a mountain, and in that sense It’s easier, but I still wake up in pain every day. I paid a price for my success, but I don‘t regret it, and I’d do it all over again if I could.

Q: You’re involved in so many things — clothing lines, producing documentaries, this book, other endorsement obligations, commentating — but are there other things that you are pursuing?

A: I am advising several companies in addition to being an investor. My goal is to be more successful in the board room than I was on the ski slopes.

If you go …

What: “Rise” with Lindsey Vonn hosted by The Bookworm of Edwards

When: 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21

Where: Virtual

Cost: $35 per single ticket or $40 per couple’s ticket; purchase online or at the Bookworm of Edwards

More Info: Call 970-926-READ or visit BookwormOfEdwards.com

Lindsey Vonn congratulates 16-year-old Kayla Anderson for skiing 90K vertical at Beaver Creek, raising over $9K for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital

Teenagers Kayla Anderson and Carter Gonzalez skied over 90,000 vertical feet at Beaver Creek on Wednesday. (Special to the Daily)

I checked in with 16-year-old Kayla Anderson ahead of her 70,000 vertical attempt at Beaver Creek on Wednesday, inspired by her fundraising around the attempt for St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital and use of the feat in a math project — and her desire to inspire other girls and women to do things she sees mostly men doing.

On Wednesday, Kayla and her friend Carter Gonzalez hit 70,000 vertical at Beaver Creek at 2:22 p.m., when her dad joined them for a lift up Birds of Prey with a special little message from Lindsey Vonn.

“Hey Kayla, it’s Lindsey,” the ski legend said in a personalized video message to Kayla. “I heard that you were going to ski 70K in one day — that’s nuts. But I want to wish you all the best of luck, I know you’re going to crush it. And the fact that you’re raising money for St. Jude’s is amazing, so be very proud of yourself no matter what. Good luck, I’ll be cheering for you, and I hope to see you soon.”

With some encouragement from Vonn, Kayla and Carter ended the day with 90,450 vertical feet on 42 lifts at Beaver Creek. The two also raised over $9,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through Kayla’s GoFundMe page — exceeding her 70,000 vert and $7,000 fundraising goal.

“We were in a lot of pain and it was a hard day, but we were thinking about how this is for childhood cancer,” Kayla said on Thursday during a break from school. “Their journey is so hard, and it doesn’t only last a day and two days of being sore. … Yesterday was incredibly difficult, mentally and physically, but we don’t have the worst of it.”

Kayla was inspired to raise money for childhood cancer research because of her grandparents, three of which are cancer survivors, as well as Jared Isaacman’s Inspiration4 mission.

“I really want to emphasize how much I needed Carter yesterday,” Kayla said. “It was completely a team effort, and I honestly could not have done it without Carter. He gave me so much motivation — and kept up the same speed, too.”

With less than ideal conditions — Wednesday was a powder day at Beaver Creek, with 3 inches reported over night — Kayla and Carter were faced with a much more challenging task than I had on Tuesday, when I hit 88,000 vert on my snowboard at Beaver Creek on an attempt re-inspired by Kayla.

Kayla and Carter headed up Centennial at 8:30 a.m. and then hit Birds of Prey 38 times before coming back to Centennial three more times to close the day. The first couple of runs were on an ungroomed trail, covered in snow.

Kayla’s EpicMix app shows Wednesday’s final stats at Beaver Creek: 42 lifts and 90,450 vertical feet. (EpicMix app)

They knew immediately though after tracking their pace the first hour that 70,000 was easily within reach — by 10 a.m., they had 21,000 vertical already. At 12:15 p.m., the midway point in the day, they were sitting at 46,000 feet and halfway to 90K. At 2:22 p.m., they hit the 70K mark and enjoyed some encouragement from Vonn on the chairlift up.

The first couple of chairlifts Kayla and Carter were playing the “country game,” testing each other’s geography knowledge by naming as many countries as they could without repeating.

Throughout the entire day, lapping Birds of Prey 38 times, they also enjoyed the enthusiasm from the employees working the top and bottom of the lift. At the bottom, the lift operator would encourage them every time, and at the top, the lift operator would use a new sign of saying hello each time — waves, salutes, peace signs, etc.

Carter, Kayla and her dad drove back Wednesday night after the long day on the hill. They celebrated with family, both achievements of crushing their 70,000 vertical goal and, more importantly, the $7,000 fundraising goal.

“I could not be skiing today,” she said the day after.

Both Carter and Kayla are currently training hard for the cross-country season, and Kayla plays high school soccer as well. Their math project is about wrapped up and will be presented in about a month.

Kayla Anderson and Carter Gonzalez rode Birds of Prey 38 times on Wednesday, as well as Centennial four times. (Special to the Daily)

While Kayla said she was inspired by my story a couple of years ago, what she did as a young, strong, smart and giving woman is the real inspiration. And a special thanks to the Lindsey Vonn Foundation team for connecting Kayla and Lindsey.

“Thank you so much for your articles and your support throughout all of this, and the Lindsey Vonn video — that was insane,” Kayla said to me. “She’s so strong as a female athlete and everything she’s had to overcome with all of her injuries and everything, that was super special to me. It’s super cool for me to have watched her race and have read about all of her challenges in her career as a skier, and then to see her supporting us and thinking it was cool that we were skiing 70,000, that was just really insane for me.”

What’s “insane“ is a 16-year-old girl skiing 90,000 vertical in one day, while raising $9,000 for a good cause, using the feat as part of a math project — and shouting out her friend first and foremost.

“I think it’s really important that I did it with my teammate, and not by myself,” she said.

Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

Lindsey Vonn Foundation hosting free virtual camp March 6 for youth across the country

The Lindsey Vonn Foundation is helping youth nationwide get excited about staying healthy — from online safety to fitness — with a free Zoom event on Saturday, March 6. Designed for girls ages 11-14, #STRONGgoals is open to girls of all ages, as well as boys.

The virtual camp is March 6 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sign up at www.lindseyvonnfoundation.org.

About the Event

“The Lindsey Vonn Foundation is proud to present our #STRONGgoals Virtual Camp hosted by Lindsey Vonn,” the organization’s website says. “The camp will help build healthy habits for this new year! The camp is free for those who register to join.”

Guests will include Olympic gold gymnast Laurie Hernandez, speaking about mental health; event sponsor Chase presenting an online security talk; and Vonn’s own personal trainer, Alex Bunt, leading a fitness exercise.

#STRONGgoals will teach girls life changing habits and goals to stay healthy and happy in 2021 and beyond. In conjunction with their very own LVF #STRONGgoals workbook, the program will focus on fitness, safety online and mindfulness.

  1. Fitness: Girls will join Lindsey Vonn in an exercise warm-up session led by professional fitness trainer Alex Bunt.
  2. Online safety: A custom curated social media and online safety talk will be presented to the girls by the tech-gurus at JP Morgan Chase; this talk seeks to educate and protect kids for life online.
  3. Mindfulness: Our final segment will open up to a discussion on mental healthy with Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez. Hernandez and Vonn will have a conversation to help guide girls in the importance of self-care and positive self-talk.
  4. The online camp will close with a Q&A with Vonn. Parents are welcome to sit in for the entire one-and-a-half hour camp or to join their daughter with Lindsey for the Q&A and closing remarks at 7 pm. A virtual workbook will be provided via email following registration so parents can follow along with their kids during the camp or review the materials with them afterward.

Notes for the event:

  • The Lindsey Vonn Foundation created this program for girls ages 11-14 but girls and boys of any age are welcome to join.
  • This event requires some physical activity. Organizers want to make sure everyone is safe and healthy. If you are not able to do physical exercises, you can sit this portion out.
  • What to wear: Casual, exercise clothing recommended.


The Lindsey Vonn Foundation is also accepting applications for its scholarship program, helping children 10-18 years old financially in-need pursue their passions.

Enrichment scholarships, up to $5,000, are for STEM, after-school, art, dance and academic programs. The Sports Matter scholarships are for all sports scholarships and are available up to $15,000.

To apply, visit www.lindseyvonnfoundation.org. Applicants will need one letter of recommendation if asking for $5,000 or less, and two letters of recommendation if asking for more than $5,000. Applicants will also need to write an essay about why they need a scholarship and include their family’s household income to qualify.

Can Mikaela Shiffrin win three at worlds? It’s hard to do for many reasons

So, you want to win three gold medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships? Easier said than done, even for an incredible racer like Mikaela Shiffrin.

It’s only been done 14 times by 12 people — Germany’s Christl Cranz (1936 and 1939) and Austrian Toni Salier (1956 and 1958) have done it twice during the 47 world championships dating back to 1931 — which includes the Winter Olympics during the 1930s and from 1948-1980.

Some rules

• Worlds were held annually from their inception in 1931-1939, as a standalone competition or the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid in New York or Garmisch, Germany, in 1936

That is how Cranz holds the record for most golds (12) at world championships and most medals won (15) and probably will for the rest of time. Cranz holds an important place in the history of ski racing, however, if modern racers got a yearly crack at worlds, their numbers would be a bit higher.

Annual worlds also helped Cranz get the golden triple twice.

Germany’s Christl Cranz benefits from worlds being held annually in racking up a record of 12 golds and 15 medals won. (Screen grab)

• Only from 1982 onward did racers actually contest the combined. From 1931-1980, the combined was a paper race. Be it worlds or the Olympics, organizers traditionally added the times from the downhill and the slalom races and the men or women with the lowest times received medals.

Were we still operating under those rules, Shiffrin would have needed to run in Saturday’s downhill, which she didn’t, and then the slalom on Saturday, as planned. We’re not saying we wouldn’t have liked her chances in an old paper combined — her bronze-medal super-G run on Thursday showed she probably could have been fine in the downhill Saturday — but it is easier to get to three golds via math than actual competition.

That’s a full medal jacket. Sweden’s Anja Paerson conquers the 2007 world championships with three gold medals on home snow in Are. (AP File Photo/Luca Bruno)

• There are more disciplines now. Giant slalom didn’t become an event until 1950 in the championships’ first trip to North America in a little town called Aspen. The only way to win three at worlds before that was to win downhill and slalom and wait for someone to add up the times for the combined.

Super-G doesn’t join the schedule until 1987 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, where the Swiss just slobber-knock everyone with eight out of a possible 10 gold medals, including Pirmin Zurbriggen and Maria Walliser winning the new-fangled discipline for the hosts.

Imagine the legends like Franz Klammer or Gustav Thoeni during the 1960s and 1970s who probably could have added to their worlds medal count with the super-G as an official event. Thoeni won two golds at at the Olympics in 1972 (GS and slalom) and two more at worlds in 1974 (combined and slalom). It’s very likely that a hypothetical super-G would have been No. 3.

And who’s to say that Toni Salier and Jean Claude Killy wouldn’t have added to their triple/quadruple golds with a super-G race? (We wouldn’t have bet against either in 1956, 1958 or 1968.)

And FIS has added the team event and men’s and women’s parallel competitions which will make triple golds easier in the future.

The cream of the cream

If one negates the results from holding worlds annually in the 1930s which gives an advantage to racers like Cranz, and get rid of the paper combined races, only six racers have won three golds at worlds.

The two most common names mentioned in this category are the immortals of ski racing — Salier (1956 in Cortina, Italy, this year’s worlds site) and Killy (1968). Not only did they win three actual races — donwhill, GS and slalom — but they also took the paper combi for a fourth gold.

The only other male to do the triple is Ted Ligety, which is one of the many reasons we wish him well in retirement.

The ladies are Switzerland’s Erika Hess in 1982, the first year of a real combined race at worlds, Croatia’s Janica Kostelic (2005) and Sweden’s Anja Paerson.

Taking nothing away from the super six who have done this, but this list is notable as well for the people not on it. On the American front, Bode Miller (33 World Cup wins), Lindsey Vonn (82) and Mikaela Shiffrin (68) haven’t done it.

As great as he was and he was the best with 86 career World Cup wins, Ingemar Stenmark never won three gold medals at the world championships. (AP File Photo)

Ingemar Stenmark (86 World Cup wins, the record) never did the triple. Nor did Marcel Hirscher (67 wins), Hermann Maier (54) Alberto Tomba (50) and Marc Girardelli (46). Those are the top five male winners in World Cup history. (Salier raced before the World Cup existed and Killy retired just when it was founded.)

Only three of the 20 winningest racers on the World Cup have won three golds at worlds, Anja Paerson, Hanni Wenzel and Erika Hess. (Screen grab)

It’s that hard to be your best for a week or two every two years.

Three (or more) golds at worlds


1933: Inge Weson-Lantschner, Austria, Innsbruck, Austria, DH, SL, K (a,b,c).

1936: Christl, Cranz, Germany, 1936, Garmisch, Germany, DH, SL, K (a,b,c).

1939: Christl Cranz, Germany 1939, Zakopane, Poland, DH, SL, K. (a,b,c).

1966: Marielle Goitschel, France, Portillo, Chile, DH, GS, K (c).

1980: Hanni Wenzel, West Germany, Lake Placid, New York, SL, GS, K (b,c).

1982: Erika Hess, Switzerland, Schldaming, Austria, SL, GS, K.

2005: Janica Kostelic, Croatia, Bormio, Italy, SL, DH, K.

2007: Anja Paerson, Sweden, 2007, Sweden, DH, SG, K.


1937: Emile Allais, France, Chamonix, France, DH, SL, K (a,c).

1954: Stein Eriksen, Norway, Are, Sweden, SL, GS, K. (c)

1956: (four golds) Toni Salier, Austria, 1956, Cortina, Italy, DH, GS, SL, K (b,c)

1958: Toni Salier, Austria, Bad Gastein, Austria, DH, SL, K.

1968: (four golds) Jean-Claude Killy, France, Grenoble, France, DH, GS, SL, K (b,c).

2013: Ted Ligety, USA, Schladming, Austria, 2013, SG, GS, K.

a – Worlds held annually in the 1930s.

b – The Winter Olympics in 1932, 1936 and after World War II through 1980 in Lake Placid, New York, doubled as worlds.

c – The combined at worlds was a paper race until 1982, meaning that organizers just added together the downhill and slalom times already contested and then awarded medals.


Gold in hand, Mikaela Shiffrin gears up for worlds GS and slalom

Meet worlds gold medal No. 6. Mikaela Shiffrin tries on some new hardware after winning Monday’s worlds Alpine combined. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

So, what I miss? Anything happen at worlds the last two days while I was off?

Yes, Mikaela Shiffrin won the Alpine combined gold medal at worlds, but she did it without her pedal on the gas during the super-G portion of the race.

Rewatching the combined super-G, Shiffrin took it easy in comparison to the line she took during Thursday’s stand-alone super-G, in which she won a bronze. Nonethleless, Shiffrin was just 0.06 seconds behind first-run leader Italian Federica Brignone, and that’s cuing up the music for Dandy Don.

Game over, people, going into the slalom.

We can talk about the number of worlds medals Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn have — Shiffrin passed Vonn on Monday. We can talk about this being her sixth gold at worlds, something which has historical implications.

Here’s the real meaning in a hypothetical news conference after Monday’s combined that would never happen because Shiffrin doesn’t roll this way.

How to watch the worlds GS

Worlds giant slalom

First run, 2 a.m., Olympic Channel, Peacock

First-run replay, NBCSN, 4:30 a.m.

Second run, 5:30 a.m., NBCSN, Peacock

“I’m still the best skier in the world, ladies, I may be taking essentially a gap year this season, but I can still roll you all. Enjoy the race wins, the globes and the other trinkets while you can. Oh, yeah, and I’m probably bringing the house during the GS and slalom later this week.”

Shiffrin is not the Larry Bird style of athlete who walks into the locker room before the 3-point competition at the All-Star Game and says, “Which one of you is going to finish second?” She lets her skiing do the talking, but she just sent a warning shot across the skiing world’s bow.

Does she get on a roll and smash the field in that GS and slalom? She doesn’t probably sweep this week because three golds in one worlds is really rare air. She probably wants the GS gold because it’s the missing medal of her collection. She also most likely wants the slalom for the five-peat. The latter is starting to look more likely.

Bigger picture? She’s going to come out of the other side of this, just fine, thank you. In the assorted post-race interviews, Shiffrin seemed to be having fun with her skiing — adding speed before worlds may have served as a pick-me-up — and just generally in a good place.

Since there are times you think you’re never going to come out the other end from a devastating loss, let’s celebrate it.

Go, Miki.

Nations watch


Again, the Austrians take world championships far too seriously — in 2015 when the nation did not place a racer in the Top 10 in the men’s downhill here, an Austrian minister declared the moment to be “a national disaster.” And here we thought the fall of Hapsburgs and the Anschluss fell in that category more neatly.

Vincent Kriechmayr, whose first World Cup win came at the Birds of Prey in 2017, swept the super-G and the downhill. On a serious note, Kriechmayr is one of only three men to sweep speed at worlds. The others are Herman Maier in 1999 at Birds of Prey — we remember that — and Bode Miller 2005 in Bormio, Italy.

Marco Schwarz won the combined. (How many times, by the way, do we need to say that tech racers win combis?) The Austrian men are dominating in Cortina, Italy. Can France’s Alexis Pinturault break up an Austrian male sweep of the traditionally contested events — disregarding the team or the parallel events — at worlds?

We just ask because Schwarz is the favorite in Sunday’s slalom. Pinturault seems like a non-Austrian who can win in GS on Friday.


Host Italy is struggling. We know the feeling. In 1999, the Americans got a goose egg for their troubles when the worlds came here for the second time. And, let’s face it we were kinda getting nervous as 2015 proceeded. Yes, Vonn won a bronze in the downhill early at Beaver Creek, but it wasn’t until the last Friday and Saturday of the championships that Ted Ligety and Mikaela went. Then all exhaled.

Sofia Goggia breaking her leg one week before worlds hurt the Italians in their speed quest. She was the favorite in the downhill. Yet after all this woe, do remember that Marta Bassino goes in the GS on Thursday. While, of course, we’re rooting for Shiffrin, the smart money is on Marta.


Norway has zero medals. This is strange to see as the Fighting Vikings are a traditional power at this event. On the other hand, everyone from Norway, including regular citizens, were injured this year on the World Cup. Even in retirement, we think Aksel Lund Svindal broke his leg.

It’s just not Norway’s year. Maybe, the country is still reeling from Will Ferrell being angry at them?


Team USA? Doing just about as expected. With Ryan Cochran-Siegle and Tommy Ford out, the team’s best medal chance not named Mikaela Shiffrin was Breezy Johnson. She finished ninth, a solid showing after missing this event in 2019.

Paul Moltzan finished fourth in the parallel slalom on Tuesday, but as goes Shiffrin, so does America.

See you all (virtually) Thursday morning.

Mikaela Shiffrin wins record 9th world championship medal, surpassing Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety

Mikaela Shiffrin, of Edwards, has won two medals at the world championships in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, with two more races to go. With her gold on Monday in the combined, Shiffrin broke multiple American ski racing records. (Giovanni Auletta, AP)

Mikaela Shiffrin raced down the course at Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy, for her second of two runs in the combined Monday morning and shrugged, not knowing if her first-place time would hold with some tough competition still to come.

After the field finished, Shiffrin was left sitting in the leader’s chair, securing her ninth world championships medal and sixth gold, surpassing Lindsey Vonn’s eight career medals and Ted Ligety’s five golds.

“I just wasn’t sure, you just have to wait and see because there’s always someone who can come down and do something incredible. In my opinion, you can just never be comfortable with where you are. You still have to come out the second run and ski well,” Shiffrin told NBC Sports after the first run.

Shiffrin, whose recent success comes three months after returning to racing from a 300-day break, won bronze in Thursday’s world championships opening event, the super-G.

The host Italians were set up nicely after the first leg of the combined, the speed portion, by holding the top two spots. However, Shiffrin’s slalom portion in the second leg proved too much to overcome. Two of Shiffrin’s main competitors also failed to complete their second runs. Leader Frederica Brignone, of Italy, straddled a gate and two-time defending champion Wendy Holdener, of Switzerland, also skied out.

“I felt like I was pushing, even though some turns felt slippery, but I was still pushing,” Shiffrin told The Associated Press. “I thought if somebody else has the timing a little bit better, especially the very top part, I don’t have a guaranteed medal off.”

‘Mikaela showed us how it’s done’

With two medals already, Shiffrin is setting up for a solid world championships, competing four times over the two-week competition.

Having never competed in a world championships combined, Shiffrin showed her dominance when skiing her best by winning gold. In the past, the speed event of the combined was a downhill race, followed by a tech race, but the switch to super-G in the first leg proved beneficial.

“I’m happy that we decided to put this in the plan this world champs,” Shiffrin told the NBC broadcast after the race. “It was a really nice day, beautiful weather and really great tracks on both events. For sure it was a tough slalom, so I’m pretty happy I got down with a really good run.”

Slovakia skier Petra Vlhova finished second, 0.86 behind Shiffrin; Swiss skier Michelle Gisin finished third, 0.89 behind.

“When you look at the top finishers, it’s the girls who are strong in both events,” Shiffrin said.

Fellow American Isabella Wright finished 14th; with AJ Hurt finishing with a DNF in the second run, and Breezy Johnson finishing with a DNF in the first run.

“It was a tough slalom,” bronze medalist Gisin told NBC Sports after the race. “Mikaela showed us how it’s done, and I couldn’t hold up to her quite yet, but maybe I’ll find some solutions for Saturday.”

The world championships slalom is set for Saturday, which Shiffrin is set to compete in as well as Thursday’s giant slalom.

Mikaela Shiffrin waves from the finish area after her second run in the world championships combined on Monday. With the win, Shiffrin now has nine medals at the biennial world championships dating back to 2013, including six golds. (Giovanni Auletta, AP)

Elite company

With the combined win, Shiffrin joins Tamara McKinney as the only American woman to win the world championships event. McKinney won in 1989 — when the world championships were held in Vail.

Her gold medal brings her world championships total to nine, including golds in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and now 2021, as well as silver in 2017’s GS; and bronze in 2019’s GS and this year’s super-G. (The world championships happen every two years and have been hosted by both Vail and Beaver Creek.)

With six gold world championship medals and nine total, Shiffrin is in a class of her own in American ski racing. The American men’s Ted Ligety has seven medals at world championships, including five golds; and Vonn has eight medals over the course of her career. Germany’s Chritl Cranz has a record 15 medals at the world championships in her career; France’s Marielle Goitschel and Sweden’s Anja Paerson have 11 each, within Shiffrin’s reach this world championships if the schedule plays out — but who’s counting?

“Ya, that’s pretty cool,” Shiffrin answered post-race about being the most decorated American at the world championships. “If you ask me, my first world champs in Schladming [Austria], I’d say no way. So it’s been a pretty cool journey to this point and it certainly was a pleasure today.”

Shiffrin in the past has said she hopes to do things no one else has done in the sport.

“I’ve done some things, but I’ve always been just trying to push my own limit first and then trying to push the limit in the sport,” Shiffrin said. “I feel like on my really good days I’m doing that. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.”

Shiffrin continues to lead the women’s U.S. Ski Team at the world championships in Italy. Meanwhile, Germany has won three medals so far at the world championships, the most since 2015; and the Swiss women have won four medals, including two golds in super-G and downhill. Host Italy has no medals yet.

With results already and more races to come at the world championships, Shiffrin is looking to carry momentum into the rest of the week.

“You start to feel less pressure and more freedom a little bit,” Shiffrin said. “Just ski and see what happens. Getting that mentality is just a nice build into the giant slalom and then the slalom race.”

Between now and her next race Thursday, Shiffrin will take time to both recover and train.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

How to watch Shiffrin race

Mikaela Shiffrin represents the U.S. at the top of the podium on Monday in Cortina D’Ampezzo, Italy. The world championships continue this week and wrap up Saturday. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

Racing in Italy has the world championships on early in the morning in Colorado. Races are aired on either NBCSN or the Olympic Channel.

On Thursday, Shiffrin is set to compete in the giant slalom: Run 1 starts at 2 a.m. on the Olympic Channel. Run 2 is on NBCSN at 5:30 a.m. Reruns are also available.

On Saturday, Shiffrin will close out the world championships with the slalom. Run 1 is at 2 a.m. on the Olympic Channel with Run 2 at 5:30 a.m. on the Olympic Channel. Saturday’s slalom will re-air later in the day as well as on Sunday.

The Associated Press, NBC Sports broadcast and Vail Daily Sports Editor Chris Freud contributed reporting to this story.

Lindsey Vonn: I wanted to end my career at Cortina worlds

Having retired from racing in 2019, Vonn is offering her thoughts on the 2021 world championships in Cortina, Italy, in a diary with the Associated Press. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati, file)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lindsey Vonn is the most successful female ski racer of all-time with 82 career World Cup victories. She also holds the record for most victories at Cortina d’Ampezzo with 12 — evenly split between downhill (6) and super-G (6). Cortina was also where Vonn recorded the first podium result of her career, back in 2004, and where in 2015 she broke Annemarie Moser-Pröll’s 35-year-old record of 62 World Cup wins across all disciplines. Having retired from racing in 2019, Vonn is offering her thoughts on the world championships in Cortina in a diary as told to AP Sports Writer Andrew Dampf.

In an ideal world, I would be competing in a ski race for the final time this weekend — in the downhill at the world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

You really can’t ask for anything better than that.

Unfortunately, injuries got in the way and my career ended prematurely. So I’m watching from afar.

Thursday’s super-G races were run on a classic Cortina day: beautiful sunshine, beautiful scenery, perfect course conditions. I’m definitely jealous that I wasn’t there.

A lot of casual viewers don’t understand why they postpone ski races when it snows or there’s fog or other difficult conditions. There’s a good reason, though, why the start of these worlds was postponed for three full days.

I applauded when they called off the women’s super-G on Tuesday due to fog hanging over the course after numerous delays.

It reminded me of the 2013 worlds in Schladming, Austria, when they made the wrong decision and started the super-G hours late in fading light and I tore up my right knee in a horrendous crash.

We shouldn’t have been racing and that kind of triggered a long series of injuries for me, missing the (2014) Olympics being one of the biggest disappointments. For world championships you always want fair and safe conditions and I’m glad that they delayed it to the point where they could have that.

I was also glad to see Lara Gut-Behrami win her first gold medal. A former overall champion and the winner of 30 World Cup races, it marked a major breakthrough after three silvers and three bronzes at worlds and Olympics.

It’s hard to be second or third all the time and I’m happy at this point in her career she was able to get the win, especially with the season that she’s been having. It’s really difficult to go into the world championships winning four races in a row. The pressure is really intense.

A lot of successful World Cup racers never actually win a world championship gold medal. So to kind of put the cherry on top of her career, it was a great, great result for her.

There are just so many variables in ski racing. Executing on one day for the Olympics or world championships is always one of the more challenging things to do in our sport.

You can get wind or the weather can change or you just unfortunately happen to have the wrong wax on that day. A million things can happen. You could have the wrong bib number.

At the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang I drew No. 1 for the super-G and made a mistake in my run because I didn’t have any information on the track. The mistake that I made was easily fixable had I known that that was an issue.

Running No. 1 is incredibly challenging. You saw on the men’s side today when the first three racers didn’t finish. Because you don’t always know the speed you’re coming into certain turns with. You have to make split-second decisions and having not run the track sometimes you make the wrong one.

Ski racing isn’t like tennis, where you have time to recover from a deficit. You only got about a minute and a half and usually it’s very difficult to come back from a mistake. I’ve done it — at my other favorite track in Lake Louise, Alberta. But most of the time, you have to be nearly perfect — like Lara was today.

Which brings me to Mikaela Shiffrin. She ended up with bronze today but could have won if not for one single mistake toward the end of her run.

Mikaela hadn’t raced in a long time in super-G and in super-G it’s a lot to do with timing and it’s just extremely difficult to execute on that little training and that little race experience.

Still, a bronze medal is an amazing accomplishment and should not be underestimated or underrated.

The nice thing about today was that the favorites won both races.

Vincent Kriechmayr of Austria mastered a tricky course for the men’s title. It was a new course for just about all of the men except for the host Italians — and me.

The men’s course is right next to the women’s course and we free skied down that trail every time for warmup. So it was interesting to see a race be held down it. It was always actually one of my favorite parts of Cortina, because I just bombed down that steep section.

Wish I was there.


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Nobody knows the course in Cortina, Italy, better than Lindsey Vonn, who won 12 times there during her career. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati, file)