Mikaela Pauline Shiffrin (born March 13, 1995) is an American World Cup alpine ski racer with the U.S. Ski Team, specializing in the technical events of slalom and giant slalom, but in 2016 season she started to compete in super G and combined. Finally, on December 2, 2016 she debuted in a downhill race in Lake Louise and finished 18th. A day later she finished 13th. She is the reigning Olympic and world champion in slalom. Shiffrin is the youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine skiing history, at 18 years and 345 days.
Born in Vail, Colorado, Shiffrin is the second child of Eileen (née Condron) and Jeff Shiffrin, both originally from the Northeast and former ski racers. When Mikaela was eight in 2003, the family moved to rural New Hampshire near Lyme, where her anesthesiologist father worked at Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center. After five years, he took a new job in Denver; her older brother Taylor was in high school at Burke Mountain Academy in northeastern Vermont, and stayed. Shiffrin also attended Burke for middle school, but went with her parents to Colorado, but soon returned to Burke.
Shiffrin's father Jeff grew up in New Jersey, but was an avid skier on weekends in Vermont with his family; as an undergraduate, he raced for Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Her mother Eileen raced in high school in northwestern Massachusetts in the Berkshires, and brother Taylor (b. 1992), races for the University of Denver.
Shiffrin began rising up through the ranks in alpine racing as soon as she was old enough to compete in FIS sanctioned races. While meeting the minimum age requirement of 15 years, she won a Nor-Am Cup super combined race in December 2010 at Panorama in British Columbia, only the eighth FIS-level race in which she had competed. Shiffrin followed it up by three podiums in her next three Nor-Am races: runner-up in a super-G, third in a GS, and victory in a slalom. Weeks later, she won a pair of Nor-Am slalom races held at Sunday River, Maine. A month later Shiffrin took the slalom bronze medal at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships held at Crans-Montana, Switzerland (after having been down with a stomach flu the day before). In 2014 she was named one of ESPNW's Impact 25.
Shiffrin made her World Cup debut on March 11, 2011, in a giant slalom at Špindlerův Mlýn in the Czech Republic. In early April, just a few weeks after her 16th birthday, she won the slalom title at the U.S. National Championships at Winter Park, Colorado, and became the youngest American ski racer to claim a national alpine crown.
On December 29, 2011, Shiffrin made her first World Cup podium at a slalom in Lienz, Austria. She started fortieth and lost her left shin guard halfway down, but finished in 12th place in the first run. Shiffrin, age 16, then posted the fastest time in the second run to secure third place.
Shiffrin won her first World Cup race in December 2012 at age 17, in a night slalom in Åre, Sweden. She became the second-youngest American to win an alpine World Cup event, behind Judy Nagel (17 yr, 5 mo.). Shiffrin's second win came two weeks later at a night slalom at Zagreb, Croatia; and her third win 11 days later at another night slalom in Flachau, Austria. After winning the slalom at the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, she secured the 2013 season title in the slalom discipline. Though she spent most of her last two years of high school in Europe on the World Cup circuit, she graduated on time from Burke Mountain Academy in June.
Shiffrin opened the 2014 season in October 2013 in Sölden, Austria, with a career-best sixth in giant slalom, within a half-second of the podium. She won the next event, a slalom at Levi, Finland, improving on her podium finish the previous year for her fifth World Cup victory. At Beaver Creek, she was runner-up in the giant slalom, her first World Cup podium in that discipline. On January 5, Shiffrin secured first place in a two-run slalom race in Bormio, Italy (the race took place there instead of being, as scheduled, in Zagreb due to bad snow/weather conditions). She also won the world cup slalom races in Flachau, Åre and Lenzerheide, to secure a consecutive World Cup slalom title. Shiffrin ended the season as the reigning Olympic, World Cup, and world champion in slalom.
Shiffrin opened the 2015 season in October 2014 in Sölden with her first World Cup win in giant slalom. She had some trouble with slalom at first and ended up outside the podium in the first three World Cup slalom races, but emerged victorious in the races at Kühtai, Zagreb, Maribor, Åre and Méribel. She ended up winning the slalom world cup title once again. Shiffrin also won the World Championship in slalom held in Beaver Creek next to her home city Vail, USA.
In the first two slalom races of the 2016 season, both in Aspen, Shiffrin won by large margins, and in her first race, she achieved a new record margin for women's slalom, 3.07 seconds over the runner-up. On December 12, 2015, during the warm-up for the giant slalom in Åre, she fell and injured her knee. After two months away from racing, Shiffrin made a successful return in her first race back on February 15, 2016, where she took her 18th victory in Crans-Montana. In the 2016 season, she won all five slaloms she started. Unfortunately, she missed the other five slaloms due to injuries, and chose not to compete in a parallel slalom in Stockholm.
Shiffrin opened the 2017 season with a second place finish in giant slalom at Sölden in October 2016. This was followed by a victory in slalom at Levi on the twelfth of November. On November 26, 2016, she finished fifth in giant slalom at Killington in her first World Cup race in Vermont, but she returned the following day to a first place finish in the slalom. On December 11, 2016, Shiffrin won her 11th straight World Cup win in the slalom in Sestriere, Italy. On December 27, Shiffrin won the giant slalom in Semmering, Austria, her second career giant slalom win and her first solo giant slalom win. The next day, she repeated and won her third career giant slalom and 25th World cup career victory . Shiffrin subsequently won the final race held at Semmering, a slalom, on December 29, 2016, achieving her 26th World cup victory and completing her sweep of races at the resort. This made her the first woman to take three wins in three consecutive days in technical disciplines since Vreni Schneider won two giant slaloms in Schwarzenberg and a slalom in Mellau in January 1989. However she missed out on equalling the record of eight consecutive slalom wins, jointly held by Schneider and Janica Kostelić, when she failed to finish first run of the Snow Queen Trophy race in Zagreb on January 3 - her first DNF in slalom since a race in Semmering in 2012. On January 29 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, Shiffrin posted her best result in a speed event, finishing fourth in the super-G, only 0.03 seconds off the podium. She won her first parallel slalom on January 31 in Stockholm, Sweden.
At the World Championships in St. Moritz in February, she won the gold medal in slalom and took the silver in giant slalom. The gold was her third consecutive in slalom at the World Championships; she became the first woman to do this in the World Cup era, and the first since Germany's Christl Cranz in 1939, when the Worlds were held annually.
On February 26, Shiffrin won her first super combined race at Crans-Montana. It was her ninth World Cup victory of the season, and widened her lead in the overall standings. She has more World Cup victories before the age of 22 than Ingemar Stenmark, the record holder for number of World Cup victories.
In Squaw Valley, the first World Cup races there since 1969, she won the giant slalom on 10 March and the slalom the following day, taking her to thirty-one World Cup victories and eleven for the season. This secured her her fourth slalom world cup. In addition, her giant slalom win in Squaw Valley put her 80 points behind the leader Tessa Worley, placing Shiffrin in contention for three crystal globes (Overall, Slalom and Giant Slalom) going into the World Cup finals.
In Aspen, before the final race day, Mikaela Shiffrin was able to clinch both the Slalom and the Overall globe. She has a chance to run for the Giant Slalom globe as she is 80 behind France's Tessa Worley. This would be the best season so far for the young Mikaela Shiffrin.
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