Mikaela Shiffrin places 14th as Lara Gut-Behrami wins women’s final World Cup super-G
Fresh off win No. 87, perhaps Mikaela Shiffrin decided it was time to let someone else feel the top step of the podium.
The American finished 14th in Thursday’s super-G at the World Cup Finals in Soldeu, Andorra as Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami took the win on the Aliga course with a time of 1 minute, 26.70 seconds.
“Sometimes a resetting happens a little bit naturally,” Shiffrin said when asked about how she’s moved forward mentally after her breaking Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time World Cup wins record last weekend.
“At the end of the day, I’m not here to achieve a record, I’m here because I like to race and I like to race fast and that’s something that resets on a daily basis.”
Gut-Behrami also wrapped up her fourth super-G crystal globe with the win, inching past Italian Elena Curtoni, who finished 10th.
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“It’s been a roller-coaster this season, and I’m happy today,” Gut-Behrami said. “I just wanted to ski to (not) have regrets. Sometimes that’s the best way, just stop thinking. I didn’t focus on the lines and just tried to be fast.”
The 31-year-old executed a perfect run, demonstrating a natural feel for the difficult spring conditions during the sunny, 7-degree Celsius day. Gut-Behrami cut inside, avoiding the slop accumulating on the outside edges of every turn, a strategy somewhat contrasted with the long arcs of Federica Brignone, who finished in second. Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway rounded out the podium in 1:27.17.
Starting in bib No. 12, Shiffrin — who didn’t participate in the downhill training runs or downhill event earlier in the week — didn’t look completely comfortable in the snow conditions, which gradually penalized performers deviating from the line later in the day. The Edwards skier avoided risks, trailing Gut-Behrami by 0.79 seconds at the first split and slowing before a jump in the upper portion of the course. She would conclude the run with the fastest fourth interval, but ultimately slid outside of the top-10, 1.46 seconds away from the leader.
The super-G was the only undecided crystal globe coming into the World Cup Finals — with Shiffrin having secured the overall, slalom and giant slalom and Sofia Goggia winning the downhill — and it provided sufficient drama even without any Ingemar Stenmark storyline for the first time in awhile.
Curtoni was hoping to become the first crystal globe winner to not also possess a single super-G World Cup during the season, as well as the oldest female Alpine skier to win her first crystal globe. With the sun beating down on the track, the Italian stayed on clean snow until halfway through, when her skis split and pushed her low on a turn. The 32-year-old, who won a super-G world junior title in 2011, ceded insurmountable time during the error, finishing 1.23 seconds off the win.
“I’m a little bit sore, but that’s not an excuse, for sure,” said Curtoni, who crashed in the downhill on Thursday. “I know I can do good. I was showing it the whole season. I will keep on working.”
“It’s an emotional day, the win, the globe, Nicole quitting,” Gut-Behrami added, referring to Nicole Schmidhofer, the Austrian super-G world champion from 2017, who retired after the race.
“I think I’m getting older and getting more emotional. It’s crazy. I’m crying all the time, but it’s a nice feeling sometimes.”
The World Cup Finals continue with a women’s slalom on Saturday and a giant slalom on Sunday. The men will contest the giant slalom on Saturday and conclude the season with a slalom on Sunday.
“I’m think I’m ready,” Shiffrin said about the last weekend of competition. “I was looking forward to today and I’m looking forward to the final two races this season.”
Shiffrin said the buildup of the entire season can be exhausting, but this year, having secured the globes, she’s just enjoying the environment.
“It’s also such a pleasure to be here racing with no pressure from the globe, so it’s really just basically my own motivation and seeing if I can execute good skiing,” she continued.
“I’m motivated to seeing if I can finish the skiing strong.”