Shiffrin wins and claims Slalom title in Lenzerheide!
Lenzerheide, Switzerland – What a race, what a breathtaking scenario. Mikaela Shiffrin was 7 points down in the slalom standings entering today’s race in the famed ski resort of eastern Switzerland. After finishing 4th in the first run, 1.17 seconds off the pace, she had no other option than to risk it all. Nothing to lose anymore! And this is what the 18-year-old American managed to do, a few days after celebrating her birthday. She proved again today how she easily deals with pressure and how fast she can be in the bottom section of the course. She clocked the best time of the 2nd run to finally snatch her 4th season victory in a combined time of 1:55.60 and claim the Slalom crystal globe. 2nd and 3rd in the first run, Austrians Kathrin Zettel and Bernadette Schild couldn’t keep up with today’s winner and finished respectively 4th (+1.44) and 2nd (+0.20). Season’s Queen Tina Maze finally wasn’t aggressive enough especially in the top section and crossed the finish line in 3rd position, 0.35 seconds adrift.
“In the first run I risked a lot and somehow in the second I didn’t manage to risk as much”, Tina Maze commented. “I think it was out of the fear that something could happen. Slalom is a discipline in where you can’t calculate and today I didn’t ski freely enough in the second run to ski a run as dominant as my first one. I was aware of how well I did in the first run and I wanted to do the same in the second one but I just didn’t feel well enough. Probably I was just too nervous, the season has been really long and to handle the pressure form one race to the other is really hard. Today I didn’t deal well with the pressure and sometimes one needs to know how to lose.”
"As far as the season goes I am really proud, but of course on days like today, especially right after the race the disappointment is high. The sadness will go away but it’s normal to feel disappointed when you have an opportunity like the one I had today. You have to learn form your mistakes, Mikaela was dominating slalom the whole season and I don’t think I lost the globe here today, but somewhere else," the Overall champion added.
At 18 years 4 days on Sunday, Shiffrin becomes the fourth youngest woman to win the slalom crystal globe and the youngest since Christa Zechmeister (FRG) in 1973/74.
To the question about how she dealt with the pressure she simply replied: “I was freaking out, this time there was really too much emotion.”
“I think half of this globe belongs to someone else today”, added the Slalom World Champion. “I actually would like to thank Tina Maze. She’s been inspiring, she’s helped me get to where I am.”
“Straight after the first run, I went to the athletes’ tent and tried to figure out what I needed to do to make it better. It’s hard to do that between runs in a race, but my mom and dad helped, my coaches helped. I asked everybody around me. They all said the same thing: you have to let it go, you cannot hold back because there is nothing to lose.”
“At the beginning of the season I set a goal that I wanted to win the Slalom globe, but I had no idea how I was going to do that. It requires to be consistently fast throughout the season. I personally started the season ok and just tried to keep training hard and to see how much I could improve.”
Mikaela will now head back to the States and enjoy a really short holyday before going back to school.
“I haven’t thought about how I’m going to bring the trophy back home. I’ll have to be very careful. If you knew for longer than a day, then you would know that I spill things, break things and I trip a lot. You wouldn’t think that I’m good at slalom”, concluded a jubilant Mikaela.
World Cup Champion Tina Maze climbed onto the podium for the 23rd time this season.
“23 podium in a season are of course positive”, she said.“It has been an amazing season and it not easy to keep up the pace that I had, standing on the podium week after week.”
Mikaela Shiffrin ends the slalom season with 688 points on top of the slalom standings, 33 points ahead of Maze. Veronika Velez Zuzulova finished in 3rd position with 500 points.
Here are the results of the day.