(CBS News) NEW YORK - She's 17-years-old and is America's new world champion. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin is the youngest women's slalom champ in almost four decades.
Shiffrin was in third place heading into the final run. But after the race, her time said she was the fastest in the world, despite her pre-race jitters.
"Just tried to find my legs," she told a reporter. "They popped up out of nowhere. I was in the starting gate and I was like, 'There they are! I can go!'"
Geoff Mintz writes for Ski Racing magazine and was there at the event. "She's very smart," he said via Skype. "She's mature beyond her years. She handles things that you would expect of a 30-year-old athlete, maybe not a 17-year-old athlete."
It's easy to forget she's just a teenager from Vail, Colorado -- she hasn't even graduated from high school.
But she's no stranger to world-class skiing. Last year, she was named World Cup Rookie of the Year.
Earlier this month, star skier Lindsey Vonn had a major crash that ended her season. Expectations for Shiffrin are high.
There is no such thing as a sure thing in the sport of ski racing," said Mintz. "But if there ever was one, she is as close as you can get to it."
This may be Shiffrin's biggest victory to date with the Winter Olympics just a year away.