Mikaela Shiffrin sits out downhill, skis out in combined in Austria
Nobody’s perfect, not even Mikaela Shiffrin. The reigning World Cup overall champion skied out of Sunday’s combined event in Zauchensee, Austria, after getting off-kilter in the opening super-G leg of the two-run event.
Shiffrin was 41 seconds into her run — and .03 behind the leader at the second split time — when she had to stand upright while navigating a dicey patch of terrain. She went wide of a gate and, needing a sharp turn to correct, slid out on her left hip.
Shiffrin managed to slide back onto her skis and slowly make her way down the mountain, appearing unhurt.
Fredrica Brignone of Italy took the win, notching her 12th World Cup victory. Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener was second, a half-second behind combining times from super-G and slalom runs. Italian Marta Bassino was third.
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“Ahhhhhhhhhhh… dang it,” was posted on her Instagram after the race.
The result was Shiffrin’s first DNF since Jan. 28, 2018, when she skied out of a slalom with a few gates left of her second run in what would have been a sure win.
Shiffrin still holds a very comfortable lead of 261 points ahead of Brignone in the World Cup overall standings as she pursues her fourth straight season title.
Suter wins downhill
A day earlier, Shiffrin skipped a downhill in Zauchensee, and Corinne Suter of Switzerland earned her first World Cup win.
Suter defied poor visibility in a race twice delayed to finish 0.29 seconds ahead of Nicol Delago. Suter’s Swiss teammate Michelle Gisin was third, 0.98 back, two weeks after also placing third in a World Cup slalom.
“I was just in awe watching her down in the finish,“ Gisin said of Suter’s run immediately after her own. “That’s really cool.”
Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia was fourth, 1.01 back, starting immediately after the second delay for fog.
Suter’s first top-tier race victory was predicted after being among the most reliable downhill racers over the last year.
She won a silver medal at the world championships in February, when Lindsey Vonn took bronze in her career farewell, then finished the World Cup season with two third-place finishes.
“After the world championships it took a lot of pressure from me,” Suter said. “Since then I can ski again with a lot of fun. This is the reason why I am so fast at the moment.”
The Swiss was second and fifth in the two previous downhills this season, both at Lake Louise, Alberta.
Attacking on an overcast day, Suter mastered the Altenmarkt course despite clocking only the seventh-best speed of 78 mph at the fastest check.
Suter leads the season-long downhill standings from Ester Ledecka. The double Olympic champion in Alpine super-G and snowboarding placed eighth on Saturday.
Information from NBCSports.com was used in this report
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We just have to ask, is there anything Shiffrin can’t do?