Mikaela Shiffrin denied share of all-time World Cup wins record by 0.06sec
Mikaela Shiffin was narrowly denied by Germany’s Lena Duerr on Sunday in her bid to equal the all-time World Cup wins record for men or women held by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark.
The 27-year-old American star led by 0.67sec over Duerr after what she called a “perfect run” in her first of two slalom runs down the hill. But she was unable to hold off Duerr’s blistering second heat and crossed the line just 0.06sec off the German’s pace to finish second, throwing back her head in dismay in the finish area.
“I felt like the first run I skied very well, and I actually skied quite well in the second as well,” Shiffrin said. “And six-tenths is actually not so much time. Lena has been strong all season and she deserves to win.”
Croatia’s Zrinka Ljutic, who won the junior world title in slalom earlier this month, was 0.49sec behind Duerr for third place at Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, the mountain where Shiffrin made her debut on alpine skiing’s top flight aged 15 in 2011.
The in-form Shiffrin entered Sunday’s race with 11 victories in 22 starts on the season, riding a streak of three straight wins and nine from her last 14. But the 31-year-old Duerr was happy to play spoiler, becoming the first German woman to win a World Cup slalom event since Maria Höfl-Riesch in November 2012.
On Tuesday, Shiffrin won her 83rd race to eclipse the all-time women’s record held by her former US teammate Lindsey Vonn, who had 82 wins when she retired in 2019.
Shiffrin won her 84th on Wednesday and 85th on Saturday to move to the brink of the all-gender mark held by Stenmark, whose record of 86 victories has stood since the 1980s.
She will need to wait at least five more weeks before her next opportunity to match Stenmark’s record as the World Cup circuit takes a pause for next month’s world championships. Shiffrin said her next World Cup event will be no sooner than the speed races in Kvitfjell, Finland on 4-5 March.
“I don’t have any expectations going into it,” Shiffrin said. “It’s just like every race of the season, trying to take it all in and enjoy – enjoy my skiing, enjoy when the other athletes are skiing better. Because there is always some to learn from that.”
Her second-place finish on Sunday was enough to wrap up Shiffrin’s seventh season-long slalom title with two races to spare. That surpasses the previous record set by Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider, who won it six times in the 1980s and 90s. It also all but clinches Shiffrin’s fifth overall World Cup title across all disciplines.
Stenmark himself predicted last year that Shiffrin, who plans to ski at least through the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan and Cortina, will retire with more than 100 wins.
Once a teenage prodigy who became the youngest Olympic slalom champion in history at the 2014 Sochi Games, Shiffrin has since blossomed from a specialist into the world’s best all-around skier.
She has branched out into the speed events with success and become the only skier, male or female, to win World Cup races in all six disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, downhill, super-G, combined and parallel slalom.