Mikaela Shiffrin can tie Lindsey Vonn’s all-time World Cup wins record this week
Pair of slaloms is scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Zagreb, Croatia
While most of the ski-racing world remains hyper-focused on Mikaela Shiffrin’s imminent ascendence to the top of the all-time women’s World Cup Alpine ski wins list, the 27-year-old claims it’s not on her mind.
“I don’t wish for anything in skiing,” Shiffrin told FIS regarding her goals for the second half of the season. “I wish for things like a happy, healthy family, and that’s different than skiing.”
Shiffrin has won the last four World Cups on the calendar (the record is eight by Vreni Schneider, who actually won 10 consecutive events she contested, but there were two downhills she didn’t start in-between that streak) and has six wins in 12 starts to lead the 2022-23 overall standings with 875 points. If she extends her win streak to six – taking Wednesday and Thursday’s slaloms in Zagreb, Croatia — she will tie Lindsey Vonn (82) for the all-time mark. Wednesday’s first run is at 4:30 a.m. MST, where Shiffrin will work from bib No. 7. The second run will follow at 8:30 a.m.
“I would not have believed it, and I’m grateful to still be in disbelief after 80 victories,” she replied when the New York Times’ Bill Pennington asked how she would have reacted if someone had told her on the night of her first World Cup win — a slalom victory in Are, Sweden, on Dec. 20, 2012 — that she would be at 80 a decade later.
“I’ve preferred to live my whole career in disbelief of whatever has been accomplished. It keeps you working because I still feel like it’s not real. And it’s way more exciting to be constantly in disbelief than expecting to win. That never works anyway.”
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The Edwards skier doesn’t take her success — she’s won nearly 35% of the 230 races she’s started — for granted, however.
“But I do realize that the likelihood of anyone getting to where I’ve gotten in my career, it just takes so many things to align just right. Especially in ski racing where there are so many variables outside your control,” she continued in the Times feature, published on Dec. 31.
“You need spectacular coaches, the right equipment, ski service, the right weather and years of hard work. And then you still have to show up on a race day that is a nine-hour ball of stress and nerves and somehow make it happen in the two minutes you’re actually racing.”
Pennington pointed out that even if Shiffrin’s win-rate is cut in half over the next six years, she would end up at 104 wins by the time she’s 33, the age Vonn stepped away.
“[Mikaela] is the best skier that has ever lived in my eyes,” Vonn, now 38, told the German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Dec. 22. “She will break my record of World Cup wins very quickly and will become the greatest skier in history.”
Shiffrin created a social media post on Monday, though it wasn’t referring to Zagreb’s upcoming events but rather to past November’s home races in Killington, Vermont, the subject of part two of “Moving Right Along,” her new Youtube series.
“My biggest takeaway wasn’t another victory, but — perhaps more importantly — that the purest and most wonderful part of the sport are the fans that bring the excitement and cheer no matter who is racing, simply because they love the sport and are so excited to see racing in and of itself,” she wrote on Instagram in regard to “Coming Home,” the title of the episode. She said her favorite part of competing in Killington is seeing the excitement on kids’ faces as they witness a World Cup in their own backyard.
“I can’t stress the importance of World Cups on home soil enough,” she continued. “It brings awareness to this sport we all love so much, but also gives the next generation a chance to dream and realize this could be a possibility for their future if they keep working and setting their goals high and doing everything they can to achieve it.”