Mikaela Shiffrin lets GS title slip to Worley | VailDaily.com

Mikaela Shiffrin lets GS title slip to Worley

World Cup overall winner leads after first run but finished seventh

Mikaela Shiffrin speeds down the course during Sunday’s World Cup Finals giant slalom in Meribel, France on Sunday.
Marco Trovati/AP photo

MERIBEL, France — Mikaela Shiffrin’s standout World Cup season ended by letting the giant slalom title slip away to Tessa Worley on Sunday.

As the final racer of the women’s season, Shiffrin was the first-run leader with a 0.82-second advantage needing to win the race to clinch an unlikely victory in the giant slalom standings.

Instead, Shiffrin’s time was the slowest of the 24 second-run finishers and she placed seventh. She was 0.67 behind race winner Federica Brignone.

Mikaela Shiffrin sports a ribbon with the colors of the Ukrainian flag on her helmet during the World Cup Finals giant slalom in Meribel, France on Sunday.
Alessandro Trovati/AP

That opened the door for Worley and the 50 points she earned for placing fourth to end atop the giant slalom standings.

The day started with Sara Hector favored to add the World Cup giant slalom title to her Olympic gold medal, but the Swedish racer could place only 14th.

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At age 32, Worley’s win was her first major title or medal for five years in her specialist event. She won the World Cup title and a world championships gold medal in 2017.

Shiffrin ends the season with the biggest prize in the sport — the overall World Cup title she sealed Thursday at the World Cup Finals meeting in the French Alps.

She raced Sunday with a ribbon in the yellow and blue colors of Ukraine’s flag attached to her helmet.

A season that risked being defined by zero medals from six events in China instead ended in triumph in the French Alps.

Shiffrin clinched the overall World Cup title Thursday with standout racing in the speed disciplines on back-to-back days at the weeklong season finals.

An expected duel at World Cup Finals with defending overall champion Petra Vlhová was settled with two races left in their favored slalom and giant slalom.

“It’s been some high moments this season and it’s been some really difficult moments as well,” Shiffrin said. “Ending it on a high (and) finding some really nice moments on the last races, that’s really important and very special.”

The fourth giant crystal globe trophy in her career, and first since 2019, lifts the 27-year-old Shiffrin to the level of former teammate Lindsey Vonn in World Cup history.

Only the six overall titles of Annemarie Moser-Pröll, the Austrian great who dominated downhill in the 1970s, stands above the two Americans.

It was a surprise win in downhill Wednesday that fueled Shiffrin to the title. She backed it up with a smartly judged second place Thursday in super-G to pull away from Vlhová, who failed to score points in either race.

Suddenly her Olympic struggles just a month ago seem like the distant past.

“Just this week, right now, I really enjoy skiing,” Shiffrin said, though also acknowledging more self-doubt before coming to neighboring Courchevel and Méribel.

It continued an up-and-down season in which five wins and 14 podium finishes in just 24 World Cup events made her inconsistent Olympics such an outlier.

It also included an enforced break because of a COVID-19 infection in December and still coming to terms with her father’s death in an accident at the family home in Colorado two years ago.

“This last week alone was some very low moments (thinking) I should just go home because I don’t think I truly have a chance,” Shiffrin said Thursday. “And somewhere we’re here now.”

Brignone, the 2020 overall champion, won the race 0.31 ahead of her Italian teammate Marta Bassino. Vlhova, who lost her overall title to Shiffrin this week, was third Sunday, 0.37 back.

France's Tessa Worley celebrates at the finish area of the World Cup Finals giant slalom in Meribel, France on Sunday.
Marco Trovati/AP
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