Mikaela Shiffrin 10th in Lake Louise downhill

Ledecka wins

Mikaela Shiffrin skis to 10th-place finish in Friday's World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Associated Press

These are gravy points, people.

There is such a high standard for Mikaela Shiffrin that when she doesn’t end up on the podium everyone acts like the sky has fallen and starts to ask “What’s the matter with Mikaela Shiffrin?”

The answer is absolutely nothing is wrong with Mikaela Shiffrin. She finished 10th in Friday’s World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alberta. It’s actually an excellent result.

The Czech Republic’s Ester Ledecka, everyone’s favorite Alpine skier and snowboarder, won the race because, let’s face it, she’s a stud. Switzerland’s Corinne Suter was second, followed by Austria’s Stephanie Venier.

But just in case, we interrupt this Shiffrin panic to remind you that this was a downhill, not a tech event, and she still finished 10th. Yes, she has won the downhill at Lake Louise on Dec. 2, 2017, and finished fourth and ninth in last year’s downhills in Alberta.

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So this was pretty much in the range of reasonable expectation.

What’s more, the 10th-place finish represents 26 gravy points. Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, and France’s Tessa Worley, all of Shiffrin’s main competition for the overall World Cup crown, didn’t race Friday.

Shiffrin essentially got 26 bonus points on Friday.

Shiffrin still has a comfortable lead in the pursuit of her fourth-consecutive World Cup title with 356 points, followed by Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin (160), Vlhova (138) and Holdener (128). As long as Ledecka doesn’t take up giant slalom or slalom, Shiffrin’s going to be fine.

In all seriousness, Ledecka did win her first World Cup. You probably remember he Olympic gold in super-G, but the quadrennial event, as well as the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, do not count toward the World Cup.

The ladies have their second downhill of the season, also at Lake Louise, on Saturday.

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