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Shiffrin’s record hunt on hold with Zagreb slalom canceled

Skier is one win away from tying Lindsey Vonn's all-time record

Mikaela Shiffrin speeds down the course during the first run of Wednesday's World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Croatia. Shiffrin won her fifth straight World Cup race Wednesday and 81st-career World Cup win. She's one away from Lindsey Vonn's all-time record.
Giovanni Auletta/AP photo

Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup wins record is safe, at least for now.

A night slalom scheduled for Zagreb, Croatia, on Thursday was canceled due to warm temperatures and strong wind, organizers announced. That means, Shiffrin, who has won the last five World Cup events and has 81 career wins, will have to wait a couple days to tie Vonn’s record. Two giant slaloms scheduled for Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on Saturday and Sunday will provide the superstar with chances to draw even and pass the great downhiller. After Wednesday’s victory, Shiffrin was asked if she has spoken with Vonn about the record pursuit.

“To be honest, we never spoke about the record,” she said. “I have a bit of a different … she talked a lot about the record when she was so close to achieving it, and of course she talked about that as a really big goal for her, and I never really talked about it that way, so we kind of take a bit of a different approach.”



Shiffrin elaborated on Vonn’s career, describing it as “something that goes down in the history books as legendary for all the history of skiing, no matter what.” She downplayed the importance of Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record of 86 wins, saying, “I can do the work and I want to be on the top step, but if that’s the last victory I ever had, I’m OK with it. That’s where I am and I’m here doing this because — maybe because I’m crazy, but I still love it.”

As reporters tempted her to label Wednesday’s race — a nearly eight-tenths of a second slalom victory — as being perfect, Shiffrin remained humble, saying she thinks there is always room to improve.

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“There’s always one or two turns — sometimes there’s 15 turns — where you think ‘it’s good but I slipped here’ or ‘I did something wrong with my position there.’ We have to be really picky because somebody’s going to be,” she said.

“One of my competitors is going to figure it out and ski it faster and then I have to go back and look at their skiing and figure it out. It’s just always back and forth. It’s possible to do it better, but tonight, that was the best I could do it.”

The tenacity and attention to detail has been one hallmark of her career, which she said “has come in stages.”



“There’s been periods of time where I’ve felt so nervous and so much expectation for myself or from the outside, and there’s been times where I’ve been calm and just enjoying it,” she said.

“I’ve experienced so many things over the last 12 years, it’s hard to imagine something’s going to come that feels really surprising.”

One thing that didn’t come as a surprise, for the most part, was the cancellation of Thursday’s event. In the first of two scheduled slaloms in Zagreb on Wednesday, organizers used purely artificial snow at the low-altitude venue, creating a strip of white down an otherwise brown hill.

“But the fact that they pulled it off yesterday made me feel like it was definitely going to be pulled off today, so I’m shocked,” Shiffrin stated. “But I don’t know why I’m shocked, because it’s not that surprising.”

During Wednesday’s press conference, she praised the event organizers and said course conditions and possible cancellations had nothing to do with their efforts.

“The truth is, it’s really warm. And that’s not a problem with Zagreb or the organizing committee. That’s the problem with the climate,” she said. The International Ski Federation did not immediately announce if the Zagreb race would be made up at another resort. Shiffrin has won five times in Zagreb, which means she’s brought multiple crowns — the prize given to the winner, or ‘snow queen’ — back to her Edwards home. She said all of them have broken during the commute, but are in one place now.

“They’re really beautiful.”

Mikaela Shiffrin wears the crown of the Snow Queen after winning a World Cup slalom, in Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 5, 2019.
Giovanni Auletta/AP photo

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