Liensberger beats Shiffrin for World Cup slalom title
And that’s pretty much a wrap
Austria’ Katharina Liensberger is the new queen of the slalom after she won Saturday’s World Cup finals slalom in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin in second and Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin.
Entering the season finale needing to win with Liensberger finishing second and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova in third to win the slalom globe, Mikaela Shiffrin caught the Slovakian in the points, but not the Austrian.
Vlhova, nonetheless, wrapped up the season with the World Cup crown by taking seventh in Saturday’s race.
MIkaela Shiffrin will finish the season with Sunday’s giant slalom in Switzerland, completing an arduous, but, nonetheless, successful campaign. Shiffrin will not win a season globe for the second time in as many years after winning the World Cup title three years running from 2017-19. And, yes, no slalom globe for Shiffrin for the last two years as well after winning 6-of-7 from 2013-19.
Barring a win in Sunday’s GS, Shiffrin will finish with three World Cup wins, her fewest since the 2012-13 season. It is not all gloom and doom.
We all knew the moment she returned to the World Cup this season in November in Levi, Finland, that this year was going to be different with her back on the slopes after her father passed on Feb. 2, 2020, not to mention COVID-19 posing a myriad of challenges.
Shiffrin also made the year different, deciding to focus exclusively on tech — GS and slalom — this season. That still didn’t stop Shiffrn from winning four medals at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships — gold in the combined, silver in the giant slalom and bronze in both super-G and slalom.
Perhaps, in that spirit, Shiffrin issued a statement throught the U.S. Ski Team titled “A Few Good Turns,” summing up the season.
“From an early age, my parents taught me a simple approach to skiing— to make a few good turns.
“Each time I step into the start gate, my goal remains the same … to make as many good turns as I can. My career, in many ways, can be summarized by a series of good turns.
“But this year, I’ve experienced quite a few challenging turns as well … there was even a time I didn’t think I could ever race again. But, I’ve come a long way from those days of doubt, and I’m emerging perhaps stronger than I was before. I’ve also learned a lot about myself, and resiliency, in the process.
“My first race back after 300 days without racing was anything but easy—but despite mounting pressure and an overarching feeling of sadness and uncertainty, I managed to finish with a result that made me smile. And a few weeks later in Courchevel, I felt the fire burning inside that I hadn’t felt in a long time. With it, came a flood of emotions.
“Even with some bright moments, when World Championships came around, I still wasn’t feeling super confident in my skiing. But when I finally broke out my super-G skis for the first time in over a year, I felt a rush of exhilaration and freedom that I had been missing. From that point, the momentum started building…
Now here I am at World Cup Finals. It’s hard to believe that just over a year ago the entire world and the ski season came to an abrupt halt and that races weren’t even possible. It wasn’t just my world that turned upside down, it was everyones.
“Life sometimes makes you turn up on edge, like a ski, forcing you to find a way to carve around obstacles. It’s about how you handle those turns—head-on, high speed, in control. That’s what this year has taught me the most. And that’s what I’m going to try to do this week…just make as many good turns as I can.
“Looking back, what really made this season so special is the fact that we even had a season at all. We’re all just grateful for the simple things…to be back on snow and have the chance to make a few good turns. And I know regardless of the outcome, I can be happy with that.”