SR Staff Report
Shiffrin celebrates with Team USA – Photo: GEPA Pictures
One run at a time has amounted to career victory 82. It has been an amazing journey to finally tie the record of another incredible skier Lindsey Vonn. However, today’s victory is the culmination of years of effort. It is the product of endless focus and passion. It is the product of assembling a team with the same dedication. But like the other 81 victories, it happened one turn at a time.
While the first three courses seemed to minimize the need for the extensive toolset of Shiffrin, the final course of the weekend seemed to guarantee her 82nd victory. The surface was bumpy, and the light was flat, but when the challenge increased, the best stood out. Shiffrin made it look easy when compared to her competition. There isn’t much to say. Her winning margin of 0.77 of a second over one of the best women’s GS fields in history says it all. Winning both runs on a pressure-packed day is an earned exclamation point at the end of her race day. Ski racing fans thank Shiffrin and her team for another great day of inspiration.
The 27-year-old Colorado native celebrated with a scream then bent over and rested her hands on her poles before kissing her skis in the awards ceremony. “I was so nervous this run. I have a rash on my face I was so nervous,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t know why, maybe a little bit was because of 82. I just really wanted to ski well, and I did.” She went on: “It was a fight. But it was pretty amazing conditions and I got a report from the coaches and they were like, ‘It’s really attackable, so just go for it, I’ve been in this position before and I’ve given it away and today I wanted to fight for it.”
The race got very dramatic once Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova left the start. Vlhova is hungry for her first victory of the 2022-23 season and skied with determination. When Vlhova reached the finish, she had a lead of 0.76 sec. With the second fastest run of the afternoon, she held first place until Lara Gut-Behrami finished 0.10 sec. faster. Both women then watched discipline leader Italy’s Marta Bassino cross into third. However, fellow Italian Federica Brignone, skiing second to last, was on fire today and produced an aggressive run intended not for a podium but for victory. Although Brignone was impressive, Shiffrin was better.
Second-place Federica Brignone and third-place finisher Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami shared a historic podium with the record matching Shiffrin.
North Americans have a strong outing
Following a significant mistake on the fianl pitch, yesterday’s deserving winner Canada’s Valerie Grenier crossed the finish line in fourth and ended the race with a 6th-place finish.
American Paula Moltzan proved again that she is a GS skiing force. Moltzan used her power and skill to charge down the problematic course to cross in the lead. By doing so Moltzan finished in ninth place and notched her sixth career top-ten GS result.
North America’s final run success started with Nina O’Brien. O’Brien did not have the final run she is capable of but she tested herself to the bottom of the course. It was bumpy and fast and O’Brien showed courage and commitment. She defined full gas in the face of challenge. Today is another important step forward on her journey back to her best and will hopefully contribute to her confidence.
The next North American was the 2003-born Canadian Britt Richardson. She likes Slovenia. Richardson’s only previous experience with a second run was in Kranjska Gora a year ago. Today the Canadian junior did it again. Similaar to O’Brien, Richardson didn’t have the final run she hoped for, but she ended the day with her second World Cup scoring result.
The most significant move up the leaderboard on the second run came from Switzerland’s Andrea Ellenberger. She completed the first run 29th and then used the 4th fastest 2nd run to move up 17 places and finish 12th.
Additionally the home country fans celebrated the 10th place of Ana Bucik and the scoring result of Tina Robnik.
Notably the three Austrian included in the second run finished together in 13th, 14th and 15th. This is a difficult period in the history for Austrian women’s GS.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.