Mikaela Shiffrin shines in Levi
It was hard to tell if Mikaela Shiffrin was more excited by her victory or buy the fact that with this victory she won a very special prize – a 6 months old reindeer she named Rudolf!
“Who wouldn’t want to get a reindeer? I remember being five years old and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer was my favorite song. I scared him off a bit when I jumped off the podium to meet him but I think we will be getting along. I hope that when he get’s older and trained I can go for a ride on a sledge with him,” said Shiffrin about the unique prize she won.
The young American put down two outstanding runs today and showed once again that she is in a league of her own in Slalom. Maria Hoefl-Riesch, who was in third place after the first run climbed up one place to finish in second place, 1.06 seconds behind Shiffrin. Tina Maze finished third, crossing the finish line with a combined time 1.61 seconds slower than Shiffrin’s.
“Maybe I was a little bit lucky in the first run, I can't even really remember it. I just wanted to take the second run like its own race and really hammer it. I was in the gate and like, 'No mercy, charge down this course' and I think I did.”
Shiffrin earned herself 100 slalom points, and got to keep the red leaders’ bib she earned last season.
“There's definitely some relief there…one of my goals is to keep my slalom standings, and it's nice to know I'm not that far off,” she said with a smile.
It has been a first slalom of the season full of surprises, especially as in the first run the wind played tricks with the races through the whole first run.
Tina Maze had high expectation coming into the new season, so she seemed slightly disappointed by her third place.
“Of course I always expect the best from myself, especially after the season I had last year. But I am also learning that it doesn’t really matter what I did or what I will do, I am learning to live in the present so this third place gives me confidence that I am on the right track,” Maze said at the press conference.
“I already was making room for a reindeer back home, but unfortunately it was not my turn to win it,” she added jokingly.
One young lady today made it clear that her first run had little to do with wind luck and all to do with skill. Christina Ager definitely proved to be the biggest surprise of the day. The Austrian newcomer, who turned 18 years old just five days ago started her first ever World Cup race this Saturday in Levi with bib 53. She skied an outstanding first run, finishing in fifth place. She might have seemed overwhelmed when realizing how fast her run had been, but she was able to regain focus for the second run and ski even faster! She finished in an impressive fourth position, missing the podium by a mere 0.07 seconds.
Ager was far from the only surprise of the day.
After an amazing first run from bib 63, where crossed the finish line in third place, clocking the same time as teammate Maria Hoefl-Riesch, German Marina Wallner wasn’t able to keep up her speed in the second run and finished 16. Still an amazing achievement from that bib.
Swiss Denise Feierabend finished 10th with bib 45, followed by Canadian Elli Terwiel in 11th with bib 32 and Barbara Wirth, 12th with bib 43. Way to move forward in the rankings for these ladies!
But now, as the ladies race wraps up, it’s time for the men to take over the Levi Black. There is one more exciting day of racing ahead of us so stay tuned on Sunday!
Start times are 10am and 1pm CET!