Shiffrin notches World Cup victory No. 84 in Kronplatz
KRONPLATZ, Italy — One might surmise that the exhilaration, along with the mental and physical exhaustion of a record-breaking sporting performance as Mikaela Shiffrin achieved Tuesday, might all be too much to deliver a repeat performance less than 24 hours later. Then factor in time-consuming interviews with media, both onsite in Italy and linking back home with the U.S., mingling with adoring fans, and a high-energy, evening awards ceremony and bib draw held in Brunico, about a 30-minute drive from the Kronplatz racing venue. There was barely time for a well-deserved Italian dinner.
Shiffrin was once again stellar on the demanding Erta giant slalom race hill — one that she absolutely loves — charging to World Cup victory No. 84 on Wednesday. She won the race by a staggering 0.82-second margin of victory ahead of Norwegian Ragnhild Mohwinkel. The Edwards racer clocked the fastest morning run by 0.51 seconds over Swedish Olympic GS champion Sara Hector and then posted the third-fastest afternoon run on her way to another impressive win in the Italian Dolomites.
The most decorated U.S. World Cup ski racer ever elaborated upon her time-consuming, post-record-breaking race activities, obligations, and lack of a full night’s sleep.
“Yesterday was pretty exhausting — after the race we got back to the hotel at four and then left again at five for a couple of interviews and then the bib draw and awards, which is very exciting, but it takes quite some time,” Shiffrin told reporters, after her 84th World Cup victory on Wednesday.
“Got back at the hotel at 7:30, quick dinner, tried to get to bed as soon as possible, of course watched a little bit of the night slalom in Schladming. Then I woke up at midnight and I was like ‘where are my Goldfish?’ I was snacking at 3 a.m., 5 a.m, I was so hungry. Then at breakfast, I didn’t want to eat because I was too nervous. Then I thought, ‘Why am I so restless cause what is there to prove? What’s going on — it’s just that your mind is kind of never shutting off.’ I was pretty tired finally waking up this morning and coming out here to race.”
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Still, all of the grueling rigors of being the consummate champion that she is couldn’t stop Shiffrin herself from once again proving that she is utterly unflappable, performing in a league all of her own.
“I feel like I executed better today — my second run yesterday, both runs of course, but the second run especially was pretty on point,” she said. “It took quite a bit to keep attacking (today) and to do so with good dynamic skiing, so I’m super happy with the day.”
“Mikaela — what she is doing these days, she’s making history every day,” said Norway’s Mohwinckel, runner-up in Wednesday’s GS. “Technically, her skiing is superb. It’s amazing.”
Two victories and a monumental record over two days in the Northern Italian Dolomites resort of Kronplatz, in addition to her triumph here in 2019, Shiffrin couldn’t offer greater praise.
“I love it here – it’s one of the most interesting giant slaloms that we ski and when it’s like it was prepared as it was these past two days, there’s nothing like skiing on this hill,” she said. “It’s like going on a roller coaster, but you have control, kind of.”
Overall, it was a satisfying day for the Stifel U.S. Alpine team in Kronplatz. Paula Moltzan finished seventh, 1.97 seconds behind Shiffrin’s two-run winning time of 2:03.28. Nina O’Brien — who has been trying to regain her confidence since suffering a nasty crash at the Beijing 2022 Olympics — finished tenth, her best World Cup result in more than two years.
Shiffrin revealed that she was able to enjoy a little bit of celebratory Italian red wine, of course with an accompanying dinner after her exhausting day. “We had some really good special pasta with swordfish and vegetables, and this kind of variation of risotto with some sort of a beet, foamy burrata something, all really good … and a tiny little bit of red wine, shhhhhh,” she said, hoping that reporters wouldn’t disclose her choice of beverage to the world.
Further pressed about her choice of red wine over the abundant and popular Prosecco that the region of Italy is renowned for, Shiffrin was blunt, and funny.
“When you get prosecco and/or champagne sprayed on you it starts to smell a lot like wet dog and it becomes something that you don’t really don’t want to drink,” Shiffrin said, referring to the numerous on-mountain, post-race victory celebrations that she has become quite accustomed to. “If you ask any of the athletes, I don’t know if it’s any of our favorites.”
It’s onward for Shiffrin and the U.S. tech squad to Špindlerův Mlýn in the Czech Krkonoše mountains, the venue at which she began her World Cup career in GS and slalom races, just days before her ‘Sweet 16’ birthday, in March 2011. Shiffrin and challengers will race back-to-back slaloms at the Czech resort on Saturday and Sunday.
If all goes as well for Mikaela, as it did in Kronplatz, she could potentially equal Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time World Cup victories benchmark of 86 on Sunday, skiing on the race hill where it all began for her 12 years ago.
“I have quite a lot of history with Špindlerův Mlýn, she says with a chuckle, trying to execute the difficult pronunciation. “It’s one of my favorite places to race, probably because it was my first World Cup race. I have memories with my Dad there, both times we skied there, so I think it will also be a little bit difficult to go back this time. I have to say that I’m looking forward to it.”
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