Shiffrin defends title at Worlds | VailDaily.com

Shiffrin defends title at Worlds

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Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after winning the women’s slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships on Saturday in Beaver Creek.
AP photo | AP photo

BEAVER CREEK — The lady does have a flair for the dramatic.

Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin needed every bit of the last portion of the 2,099-foot women’s slalom course to pull out gold on Saturday at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at Beaver Creek.

Shiffrin had a 0.40-second lead over Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter, but a good run by the current World Cup leader preceding Shiffrin essentially erased that margin. Shiffrin was 4-hundredths of a second behind Hansdotter at the first time and 3-hundredths back heading into The Abyss and the face or Redtail. Yet Shiffrin somehow had the internal drive to find time in the final stretch, pulling away from Hansdotter by 34-hundredths.

The Czech Republic’s Sarka Strachova earned bronze.

After going the first 11 days of the Championships without a gold medal, the U.S. Ski Team picked up its second gold medal in as many days, first with Ted Ligety in the men’s giant slalom and Shifrin in women’s slalom.

Shiffrin, 19 and turning 20 next month, defended her world title in the slalom, having won her first Championships gold back in Schladming, Austria, in 2011. It’s also her third “major” medal with her Olympic gold in the discipline in Sochi, Russia.

Hansdotter, who took bronze in the last Worlds, had won two slaloms on the World Cup this season, emerging as Shiffrin’s chief competitor. But it was not be for the 29 year old.

Strakova won her fourth career medal at Worlds with a combined time that was 77-hundredths behind Shiffrin.

Slovenia’s Veronica Velez Zuzulova was fourth, followed by Austria’s Kathrin Zettel.