Mikaela Shiffrin secures fifth overall World Cup title
Edwards skier placed fifth in Saturday's downhill in Kvitfjell, holds 796-point lead with just seven races remaining
Mikaela Shiffrin wasn’t able to get on the podium in Saturday’s World Cup downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, but she did just enough to wrap up her fifth overall World Cup title. With seven races remaining — and 700 points up for grabs — the Edwards skier’s fifth-place finish stretched her lead over Swiss racer Lara Gut-Behramia to 796 points, mathematically securing the crystal globe.
“For me it’s quite special to have it now already,” said Shiffrin, who has posted 14 podiums and 11 victories in 25 races this season. “And I can take a little bit of weight off my shoulders. In the middle of the season I was always thinking ‘oh, I just have to keep pushing because it’s not done yet’. And so now at least that’s done and I can enjoy myself more.”
While a great deal of focus has been on Shiffrin tying Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time World Cup wins record this weekend, the American superstar now has another record she’ll be chasing in 2023-24: Annemarie Moeser-Proll’s six overall titles. Only Moeser-Proll and eight-time men’s winner Marcel Hirscher have more globes than Shiffrin.
“The overall or any season title, it’s always strange to explain how it feels on the day you win it if you didn’t win the race, but I’ve started to get used to feeling the whole season of work has been amazing,” Shiffrin said.
“The final step would be the GS gold.”
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Norwegian Kajsa Vickhoff Lie pleased the home crowd Saturday, winning the race down the well-regarded Olympiabakken slope in a time of 1 minute, 32.36 seconds.
“The whole family came here, my friends — I wanted to give them a show and I think I managed to do that,” Lie said.
Sofia Goggia of Italy was second, 0.29 seconds back, with Corinne Suter of Switzerland rounding out the podium. It was the first time in the event’s 30-year history that women have raced on the Olympiabakken in a regular World Cup. The venue was the site of the 1993 and 2003 World Cup Finals as well as the 1994 Olympic Games.
“It’s just the best feeling ever,” Lie continued, noting that one year ago, she saw Aleksander Aamodt Kilde win the super-G at the venue. “I was like, ‘oh, I wish we could have a race here as well.’ And now I’m here one year later and can actually experience this home race — it’s amazing.”
Wearing bib No. 4, Shiffrin followed Lie in the order. In just her 20th-career downhill start, the 27-year-old wasn’t able to find much speed in the steep upper section of a hill she spent time this April training on. She was thrown way off the line about midway through the course, but rallied in the final sector, where her split was the third-fastest on the day, to tie for fifth with Austria’s Ramona Siebenhofer, 0.79 seconds off the win and 0.38 seconds off the podium.
Per the usual routine as of late, Shiffrin was asked after the race about her continued pursuit of her 86th-career World Cup win.
“It’s not really personal for me,” she said of Stenmark’s record. “It’s really hard not to think about that because I’m talking about it constantly; everyone’s asking about it.”
“But my goal was really the overall globe — that’s what I talked about the whole beginning of the season,” she continued. “So, that’s No. 1 and the second thing was the slalom globe and the GS globe and then these wins … now that I’m so close, I think the unfortunate thing is that if I don’t get it this season, it could be that many people say it’s disappointing.”
Shiffrin said she’s trying to “keep things realistic” and “not get so greedy.”
“It might not happen this season, but I think I’m skiing well enough that it could.”
With her second-place finish, Goggia wrapped up her third-straight and fourth-career downhill globe. “Well, I feel great,” the Italian said. “But I’m not so happy about the performance of the day. I didn’t ski as well, it wasn’t as smooth as the training run.”
Breezy Johnson placed eighth, Isabella Wright was 12th, Keely Cashman placed 29th, Lauren Macuga was 32nd and Tricia Mangan was 38th for the U.S.
The speed event weekend concludes with a super-G on Sunday.