Mikaela Shiffrin yelled with delight as she crossed the finish line, saw the Number one next to her name for the 82nd time in a World Cup race, and then fell to her knees in disbelief. She was performing in the sixth round of the Alpine skiing World Cup in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on January 8.
Shiffrin prevailed in the giant slalom competition by a margin of 0.77 seconds over Federica Brignone. Lara Gut-Behrami made up for the disappointment she experienced on Saturday by finishing in third place.
Returning to the slope, the runner-up Brignone made a small mistake at the beginning of her second run and may have been headed for another finish just off the podium, which has been a tendency for her this season with four fourth- or fifth-place finishes in the five previous giant slalom races. She raced to a second-place finish and her 50th World Cup podium, finishing ahead of Gut-Behrami, who surged up from sixth with a flawless second lap, a day after a subpar second run stopped her from reaching the podium. This was her 50th time on the podium in a World Cup competition.
“I can’t believe it,” Shiffrin said moments afterwards, on the verge of tears after months — years, even — of deflecting talk about chasing this record.
“I was so nervous this run; I have a rash on my face because I was so nervous,” she added. “I don’t know why; maybe a little bit was because of 82.
“I really wanted to ski it well, and I did.”
Her 82 victories include 51 slalom victories, 17 giant slalom victories, five super-G victories, three downhill victories, three city event victories, two parallel slalom victories, and one alpine combined victory. Her first victory happened when she was 17 years old, nearly a decade ago, tying Lindsey Vonn’s record of 395 appearances in a 13-year career with only 233 appearances.
Vonn won her first World Cup race when she was 20 years old, and she won her last World Cup race when she was 33 years old, giving her an average of one victory every 4.82 starts throughout her career of competing in 395 events.
Vonn had already won 53 World Cup races by the time Shiffrin was that age, and she went on to win an additional 29 after that. Her most recent victory came in March 2018 in Are, Sweden, the same resort where Shiffrin won her first World Cup race.
With one more win, Shiffrin would own the women’s record outright, and she will be within three victories of matching Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 World Cup victories across men’s and women’s Alpine skiing.