Mikaela Shiffrin wins her record 47th World Cup slalom ahead of Beijing Olympics
Mikaela Shiffrin won the last women's World Cup slalom before the Beijing Olympics on Tuesday, while her Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova locked up the season title in the discipline. Racing on the challenging Planai course, the American improved from fifth place, posting the fastest time with an all-attacking run to beat first-run leader Vlhova by 0.15 seconds.
Germany's Lena Dürr finished 0.93 behind in third.
It was Shiffrin's 47th career slalom win, making her the first skier in World Cup history to win that many races in a single discipline. She previously shared the best mark with Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark, who won 46 giant slalom in the 1970s and 80s.
"It's just quite special to be sitting here now. It feels like it didn't happen," said Shiffrin, who stretched her lead in the overall standings over Vlhova to 55 points.
Shiffrin, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, also posted tributes to her team and her mother on Twitter, thanking her mom for her "strength, love, support and belief in me."
Her win did not prevent Vlhova from securing the season title in the discipline.
The Slovakian, who has won five of this season's seven slaloms, leads Shiffrin by 220 points with just two more World Cup slaloms scheduled after the Olympics.
Vlhova won the slalom globe once before, in 2020, after Shiffrin had won it six times in seven years.
The title went to Katharina Liensberger last season. On Tuesday, the Austrian was 0.79 behind in eighth after the first run and ultimately finished 21st after nearly skiing out at the end of her second run.
Shiffrin's teammate Paula Moltzan was in sixth place after the opening run but straddled a gate in her second. The American has been skiing with the pole taped to her glove since fracturing her left wrist.
Canada's Ali Nullmeyer and Switzerland's Wendy Holdener, who shared the third spot after the opening run, both failed to finish their final runs.
Anna Swenn-Larsson, who finished third in a slalom in Slovenia on Sunday, was among the fastest starters in the first run and led Vlhova by more than two-tenths of a second at the first split before the Swede straddled a gate.
The Planai course is an annual stop on the men's circuit. The women last raced at the venue during the world championships in 2013.
The race was relocated from nearby Flachau, which has been hit by a recent rise in coronavirus infections.
Shiffrin, who won gold in the slalom at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and won gold in the giant slalom at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, is expected to be a top contender in this year's Beijing Olympics, which is set for February 4.
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