Mikaela Shiffrin’s season ends with another podium, but 70th career win will have to wait
In the final race of the season, Edwards’ Mikaela Shiffrin finished second to New Zealand’s Alice Robinson, 0.28 seconds behind, in the giant slalom Sunday in Lenzerheide Switzerland.
Shiffrin, who was nominated for the Laureus Comeback of the Year Award for her successful yet trying season, finished on 10 podiums this World Cup circuit in Europe, but her second-place finish Sunday leaves her sitting at 69 career wins.
Shiffrin finished the first run Sunday sitting in the top spot — when she was 0.77 seconds ahead of the 19-year-old Robinson. But she lost time in the second run to the winner. Shiffrin has given up first-run leads in three of her past five races.
“Good job,” Shiffrin told Robinson in the finish area. Shiffrin, who turned 26 last week, had also started winning World Cup races as a teenager.
Slovenian Meta Hrovat finished third. Overall World Cup champion Petra Vlhova finished the season with an 11th-place finish.
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In a season in the shadows of COVID-19 and other personal tribulations, Shiffrin competed in 16 races — mostly slalom and giant slalom — and finished with 10 podiums and three wins.
At the two-week world championships in February in Italy, Shiffrin showed her dominance with four medals in four races. Her win in the combined at the world championships put her in a league of her own as the most decorated American ski racer in history at the world championships. It was her ninth world championships medal and sixth gold, surpassing Lindsey Vonn’s eight career medals and Ted Ligety’s five golds.
“I’ve had enough of this season,” said last year’s overall World Cup winner Federica Brignone, of Switzerland. “It was really long, it was really not good,” she added, smiling to the Swiss broadcaster RTS citing the lack of atmosphere at races.
The first run in the morning was notable for a curious exit by world champion Lara Gut-Behrami, who lost out Saturday to Vlhova in the overall standings.
Gut-Behrami at first seemed to simply stop racing and left broadcasters mystified when she skied out.
The Swiss star, overall World Cup champion in 2016, began to stand up straight approaching the third gate, relaxed her arms and slowly skied back across the hill wide of the next gate.
It was a strange end to her impressive career revival in 2021. Since January, Gut-Behrami won six World Cup races — including four straight in super-G — plus two gold medals and a bronze at the worlds last month in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
“Lara didn’t have enough energy to give it all and didn’t want to take the risk to get injured and that’s the reason why she stopped,” Swiss team spokesman Jérôme Krieg said in a statement.
There was quick speculation that Gut-Behrami was making a protest against organizers after comments earlier in the week critical of the race week scheduling rules.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story. Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and email@example.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.