The top 5 reasons Shiffrin wasn’t Jobbed in Jasna
The slalom chase continues in Sweden
She wuz robbed, they cried after Sunday’s World Cup slalom in Jasna, Slovakia.
Yes, welcome to Shiffrin-Vlhova-gate, in which Shiffrin was leading after the first run of the slalom and the last to go during the flip when course workers discovered a broken gate and halted the race to fix it.
Shiffrin idled in the start house for several minutes, a situation akin to icing the kicker with a timeout in football, but longer in duration. When she finally raced, Shiffrin didn’t ski well, dropped to third place and Slovakian Petra Vlhova ended up winning on home snow.
All times Mountain
First run, 5:30 a.m., Peacock
Second run, 8:30 a.m., Peacock, Olympic Channel
Replay, 10 p.m., NBC Sports
First run, 2:30 a.m., Peacock
Second run, 5:45 a.m., Peacock, Olympic Channel
That has given birth to conspiracy theories of how Vlhova, the Slovakian Ski Federation and maybe a few course workers were in on the fix to job our heroine out of a win.
Stop. Stop, right now.
Just as there are people who still say Sept 11 was inside job or insist that there is a massive Democratic-run deep state that did in President Donald Trump, people are assuming competence not in evidence.
Do we really think Vlhova, the Slovakian race organizers and a couple of guys named Jozef and Jan — course workers are volunteers everywhere from the Beaver Creek Talon Crew to Jasna — had the juice to do this?
Course holds are never good be they for injuries, work on the piste or even commercial breaks, even though those pay the bills. But they happen. Shiffrin got the bad end of the stick. She needs to get over it. (She will.) So do we.
But just for kicks and giggles, from the home office in EagleVail, the top 5 reasons Shiffrin wasn’t Jobbed in Jasna:
5. The Slovakian team set the course for the first run, not the second. Look at the start sheets. Norway’s Janne Haarala was in charge of the course for the flip. If there were any monkey business, Haarala is the first suspect. (World Cup flashback: Ante Kostelic.)
Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel finished 11th and Kaja Norbye was 23rd. That’s a poor job of allegedly rigging a race and Norway and Slovakia generally don’t team up on much. Say, the course setter for one run was Italian and the second Swiss and a course hold like this happened to an Austrian. Now, you have a case, given the hostility of those countries in anything involving snow.
4. New Zealand’s Alice Robinson had the fastest second-run time on Sunday. It wasn’t Vlhova or Shiffrin. It was the Kiwi, and we’re happy to see her back on the podium.
3. I never dated Amy Fisher. (Hey, it’s a Letterman list and we need a reference.)
2. Shiffrin is not a cyborg. She’s not going to win every race, people. Despite her otherworldly record, she is a human being who errs. Shiffrin admitted that the delay got to her and that she needs to handle it better in the future.
1. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — Petra Vlhova is a damn fine skier in her own right. We may not like it, but she’s going to win occasionally. This was her 19th career World Cup win, a total that would be much higher were she not racing during what will likely be known as The Mikaela Shiffrin Era.
On to Are
If there’s any upside to this snafu, it’s that Shiffrin is probably pretty motivated for this weekend — two slaloms in Are, Sweden, Friday and Saturday.
Not only does she have motivation, but Are is a certified happy place for Shiffrin. She won her first World Cup there on Dec. 20, 2012. That’s the first of four regular wins there, not to mention super-G and slalom gold at worlds in 2019 as well as bronze in GS.
The comfort goes beyond success. Please remember that one year ago at this point, Shiffrin was scheduling her return to the World Cup after her father’s passing. That she chose to return in Are and Cortina, Italy, site of this season’s worlds and another comfortable venue, was not a coincidence. Of course, all of this ended up being for naught as COVID-19 wiped out the rest of the season.
With two of the last three slaloms of the season being contested in the next two days, there’s also the matter of who wins the slalom globe. Vlhova leads at 480 points with Shiffrin at 435 and Austria’s Katharina Liensberger (420) and Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin (375) in pursuit.
Since those are the only four women on the planet who have won a World Cup slalom (including the 2018 Olympics and the 2019 and 2021 worlds) dating back to Jan. 10, 2017 (Flachau, Austria, Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter), this is the quartet to watch.