Mikaela Shiffrin places seventh in super-G as Austrians sweep podium on final day of Kvitfjell World Cup | VailDaily.com

Mikaela Shiffrin places seventh in super-G as Austrians sweep podium on final day of Kvitfjell World Cup

Chase of Ingemar Stenmark's record moves to Are, Sweden

Mikaela Shiffrin speeds down the course during the women's World Cup super-G race in Kvitfjell, Norway on Sunday. Shiffrin placed seventh.
Marco Trovati/AP photo

Ullr, the Norse god of skiing and snow, was determined to not have Mikaela Shiffrin tie Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time World Cup wins record on the final day of World Cup speed events in Kvitfjell, Norway. Apparently, there is more mythological magic if she can surpass the great Swede on his home soil next weekend.

Shiffrin placed seventh in a dramatic super-G, and the weather was responsible for most of the theatrics. “Today the weather luck was on my side, but I used the chance,” said Austrian Franziska Gritsch, who placed third skiing from bib No. 26. “Three Austrians on the podium is amazing, really fun.”

Austrian Nina Ortlieb took the win — the sixth different super-G winner in six World Cup super-G races (and the World Championships super-G) from bib No. 31 — with her teammates Stephanie Venier (bib No. 29) and Gritsch rounding out the podium. While higher-ranked athletes dealt with falling snow and were clearly hampered by conditions, the skies magically cleared halfway through.

Austria’s Nina Ortlieb took the win in Sunday’s super-G skiing from bib No. 31 as conditions improved later in the day on the Olympiabakken course in Norway.
Stian Lysberg Solum/AP photo

“I was lucky today, I am sure that it was not fair for everyone,” Ortlieb, whose father was the downhill Olympic champion in 1992, told FIS media afterward. “It was unbelievable. I knew at the start the conditions were getting better and better.”

“The weather was on our side today,” Venier added. “It was a really long time ago (that three Austrians topped a super-G race). It feels crazy to share a podium with my teammates. It’s a little bit unbelievable.”

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Shiffrin, who will now look to technical events next weekend in Are, Sweden, to tie Stenmark with an 86th-career World Cup win, skied from bib No. 7. She nearly put herself into the lead thanks to a particularly swift line at the bottom of the course, but wound up 0.10-seconds behind Jasmine Flury in second. The American remained there until Italian Sofia Goggia pulled off a miraculous run in the blizzard to take a 0.19 second lead on the Swiss skier.

When the weather shifted, however, each of those athletes would eventually be bumped from the podium and Goggia was left cursing the weather gods.

“I’m sorry because we came down with criminal conditions, and now there is the sun and everything is really fast,” the downhill overall globe winner stated to FIS reporters. “I’m happy with my performance. The conditions were really tough. But of course, the race changed too much.”

Austrian’s swept the podium in Sunday’s super-G with Nina Ortlieb, center, taking the win. Stephanie Venier, left, took second and Franziska Gritsch placed third.
Marco Trovati/AP photo

Shiffrin will look ahead to Are, Sweden giant slalom and slalom events this weekend

With three top-10 finishes during the speed events in Norway, Shiffrin leaves Kvitfjell with a fifth overall crystal globe. Even with Stenmark’s record in sight, the globes were always what mattered most to the American.

“To have the slalom and overall globe secure now is pretty cool. The final big goal for me is to try to hang onto the GS globe,” she said in a skiandsnowboard.live interview on Sunday.

Shiffrin said her successes have been the result of “taking care of small things.”

“It’s been a wild season; I don’t feel dominant,” she said. “I felt like my skiing has been really strong. Every race I do, it’s a question for me if I can do well enough. It’s just been basically, focus on the right things every step of the season.”

Shiffrin, who turns 28 on March 13, added her “motivation never really came from winning.”

“It comes from like, wanting to ski my best or improve the skiing — ski faster,” she explained.

“Of course I want to be the best in the world, so that means I have to win, so it’s sort of part of the game, but it’s not my sole focus.”

“So I think over the last past season, there’s days where I have less motivation and days where I have more motivation and it sort of almost doesn’t matter,” she continued.

“As long as I take care of my skiing then I have a chance to be somewhere near the top and that’s a feeling I like and it’s easy to be motivated for sure.”

Are, Sweden, which will host a giant slalom and slalom on Friday and Saturday, was the site of Shiffrin’s first World Cup victory, a slalom in December 2012.

“I’ve had great experiences in Are, and I’ve also had some very tough races there. I don’t have big expectations or any expectations going into the weekend, but I always love to go there,” Shiffrin said.

“I love to race. Of course I have memories that make it easy to feel good there, and I’m looking forward to the coming weekend.”

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