Mikaela Shiffrin takes fourth in Friday’s World Cup super-G in Kvitfjell, Norway
Skier remains one win shy of Ingemar Stenmark's all-time record with a downhill on Saturday and another super-G on Sunday
Ingemar Stenmark’s record is still safe.
Mikaela Shiffrin took fourth place in Friday’s super-G, the first of three days of speed events in Kvitfjell, Norway. Shiffrin skied the Olympiabakken hill, used in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, in 1 minute, 26.99 seconds, missing the podium by just 0.04 seconds. Austria’s Cornelia Huetter (1:26.83) claimed the win, slicing one-hundredth of a second off the time set by Italy’s Elena Curtoni (1:26.84). Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami (1:26.95) rounded out the podium.
“I don’t have a problem talking about (the record). I know what’s possible,” Shiffrin told the Associated Press. “I have to do a good race just like everybody else. If I want to win then I have to do better than everybody else.”
She’ll have another chance to do just that in Saturday’s downhill and Sunday’s super-G.
Running from bib No. 9 on Friday, Shiffrin took advantage of her starting and gliding skills, moving into the lead at the first interval. Her poise and posture throughout the middle section of the course could have fooled a casual fan into thinking the tech specialist has been focused on speed events her entire life. She took an aggressive line on the final blind turn, knowing that speed in the course’s lower section would be pivotal.
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“It’s actually so fun to ski. This track is amazing,” Shiffrin told the Associated Press after. “The surface is breaking a little bit. So I feel quite lucky that, for the draw, I was in a pretty good spot with my bib. I could push everywhere.”
Ultimately, however, in what was just her 25th-career super-G World Cup start, she didn’t find enough velocity to grab the win, sliding into third until Huetter arrived from Bib No. 14. The Austrian skied to a 0.01-advantage over Curtoni for the win and bumped the American off the podium altogether.
“I felt very good with my skiing,” Shiffrin continued. “I will look at the video and see if I can analyze something. Maybe I can squeeze a little bit more speed out of it but I am not going to go overboard anywhere, because it can also backfire.”
Huetter was the super-G bronze medalist at the World Championships earlier this month, an event Shiffrin took the silver. The Austrian had just the 18th-fastest time at the first split but conquered the lower section.
“For sure, the luck was on my side, but I think I was also skiing very well,” she told the Associated Press regarding her minute winning margin.
“It’s really amazing. It’s really nice to come into the finish and have a green light. But I had mixed feelings through my run. I think it was a good combination of aggressive skiing and also having the feeling in the turns.”
It was Huetter’s fourth career victory and it was the sixth different winner in as many super-G races this winter. Even though she hasn’t won a race yet, Curtoni moved to the top of the discipline standings.
“Red bib, pink bib, blue bib, it doesn’t matter to me. Right now I’m not interested in the color of the bib, we’ll see at the end,” Curtoni stated.
Mathematically, Shiffrin hasn’t officially secured her fifth overall crystal globe yet. She currently leads Lara Gut-Behrami by 761 points with eight races left, but the Swiss athlete doesn’t compete in slalom races. With her result on Friday, the Edwards skier moved up to eighth in the super-G discipline standings with 186 points. Curtoni tops that list (310) with two super-G races remaining.
Breezy Johnson finished in 28th, Tricia Mangan was 40th and both Isabella Wright and Keely Cashman posted DNFs to round out the American squad.