Mikaela Shiffrin crowned Snow Space Princess in Flachau.
FLACHAU, Austria - USA’s Mikaela Shiffrin seems to enjoy racing under limelight – after her maiden victory at Are, in Sweden, and her next triumph at Zagreb, the 17-year-old teenager from Colorado celebrated her third season win in another night slalom today at Flachau, in Austria, where she beat once more Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter while Finland’s veteran Tanja Poutiainen came in 3rd.
Another Swede, Anna Swenn Larsson was 4th a few hundredths of a second ahead of Slovenia’s Tina Maze, the current Overall World Cup leader. Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch, a strong leader after the first leg, straddled a gate in the upper part of the second run a few seconds after clocking the fastest intermediate time. Her teammate Christina Geiger, 3rd in the first run, also skied out in the final run.
The next-to-last slalom race prior the 2013 FIS World Championships in Schladming was also marked by the strong 6th place reached by Bernadette Schild, the younger sister of Marlies Schild, sidelined by a knee injury last month. Former World Champion Sarka Zahrobska, who underwent brain surgery last summer to remove a tumor on her pituitary gland, also skied among the top-10, quite an encouraging result for her.
A great sprint for Shiffrin.
2nd after the first run half a second behind Hoefl-Riesch, Shiffrin took again all risks in the evening to set a new impressive best time thanks amazing skiing in the final flat part where she managed to let her skis run very smoothly until the finish line.
“I like to let it go in the final sections, I’m always pushing myself very hard there until the very last gate,” Shiffrin explained after the race. “Yet I was lucky today because Maria was going very well too prior her problem, I give her my respect for her great skiing today. She was charging so hard,” Mikaela added.
“This is my third win this season, yet I still remain as surprised as in Are, after my first victory. This is much more than I ever expected at the start of the season. I enjoyed that race a lot, there was a great atmosphere. I let again the crowd carrying me down the course, it gives me wings. I strongly enjoy that feeling a lot.”
With only a handful slalom race left on the season schedule until the end this winter, Mikaela Shiffrin strongly improved her chance to clinch the slalom globe at Lenzerheide in March as she has now build-up a nice lead of 81 points on Maze in the slalom standings.
She is also a strong 5th in the Overall standings, a few points ahead her teammate Lindsey Vonn who did not enter that race. The skier from Eagle/Vail also passed the ‘barrier of 500 World Cup points allowing her to improve her start position in the other disciplines.
On Moser-Proell's steps?
Interestingly enough, only a few former ski stars did as well as or better than Mikaela at such a young age – one of them being Austria’s skiing legend Annemarie Moser-Proell, the winner of six overall World Cup globes and 62 events in her career. She had already enjoyed eight World Cup wins in all three ‘classic’ alpine specialties – downhill, slalom and giant slalom – in 1971 prior turning 18! That season, Moser-Proell managed to capture her first big crystal globe after a fierce battle against the French ski team!
With a total of 1,334 points, Tina Maze is literally ‘running away’ in the 2013 Overall standings with Hoefl-Riesch in 2nd place with 744 points. With still 16 events left on the calendar until the end of the season, she has a strong chance to clearly set a new record – passing the symbolic limit of 2,000 points set by Hermann Maier in March 2000. Last year, Lindsey Vonn scored a total of 1980 points after a superb season marked by a total of 11 victories in all events except slalom.
“I hope she’ll succeed, so people won't ask me anymore about that record,” a smiling Maier told reporters during the race. “Tina is skiing really well and she is very strong too, she is impressive,” added the former ‘Herminator’ who grew up in Flachau.
The next women’s competitions are scheduled this weekend in Italy’s Cortina d’Ampezzo where a downhill and a Super-G are taking place – weather permitting – on the superb ‘Olimpia Tofana’ run that has hosted World Cup races since the early 1970s. The first training run planned there in Thursday has already been cancelled because of bad weather forecast.
Source: A.I.J.S. Ski Press News Center