Shiffrin wins World Cup overall title after second place finish in super-G
Vlhova’s 17th puts her more than 200 points back with just two events remaining
Perhaps no superstar athlete has experienced both extremes along the continuum of success and defeat like Mikaela Shiffrin has in 2021-2022. After winning the opening World Cup event in October and securing a record 47th slalom World Cup victory in January, she was poised to do historic things at the Beijing Olympics, only to DNF in three events and miss the podium entirely in the other three.
Now, however, she is back on top. On Thursday, the Edwards skier finished second in the World Cup Finals super-G, and with rival Petra Vlhova out of the points in 17th, guaranteed a fourth FIS Alpine ski overall crystal globe — the most prestigious prize in the sport — heading into the final two events in Meribel, France this weekend. She leads the standings by 236 points with just 200 up for grabs in Saturday and Sunday’s technical events.
It was the fourth overall title for the American, who won three straight overall globes from 2017-2019. She is now tied with Lindsey Vonn for the most ever by an American. The great Austrian skier Annemarie Moser-Proll holds the all-time record with six.
“It’s hard to compare them all…they’re all special, but this season has been one of the most confusing seasons I’ve ever had,” she told Megan Harrod of U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
“I felt motivation, I felt triumph…but I also had some tough moments…this COVID time and different things that were difficult to deal with. That carried through the Olympics, and carried right until now.”
While the season-long super-G title had been won by Federica Brignone of Italy going into Thursday’s competition, it was Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway who won Thursday’s race, coming in 0.05 seconds in front of the 27-year-old American. Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin was third, 0.13 behind.
Soft snow, coupled with challenging light, warm temperatures along a fairly open and straight course wouldn’t theoretically play to Shiffrin’s technical skills. She seemed to at least partially attribute her surprise results from the last two days, however, to the conditions.
“And, there’s maybe some conditions and how things came together for yesterday and today that suited me very well, so that was a perfect opportunity, and I can’t believe it worked out that way,” she told U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
The showdown between Shiffrin and Vlhova was predicted to reach another level in the final two events of the week-long competition, as both athletes are known for their technical prowess. It was the speed races, however, that proved decisive. Shiffrin opened the finals with a victory on Wednesday, just her third ever in the discipline. Vlhova struggled, finishing out of the points in 16th.
Shiffrin now has 1,425 points in the overall standings with Vlhova at 1,189. As far as individual discipline standings, the American finished third in the super-G and is second in the slalom, with Vlhova already having wrapped up that globe on the strength of her five wins this season. Shiffrin is still technically able to win the giant slalom, where she trails Sara Hector by 51 points.
The World Cup Finals continues with a team parallel event on Friday before wrapping up with a slalom and giant slalom on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Shiffrin is looking forward to strapping up her boots one more time and having fun.
“We have two more races this season to hopefully ski well…and most importantly, just try to enjoy it,” she told Harrod.
“It’s certainly not the conditions I normally love in either GS or slalom, but I think I can ski well if I’m working on the right things, so I can take it even as training days to practice how I perform in races on these conditions as well. So, that could be quite fun and could be something to enjoy, and I really appreciate that.”