Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin wins GS at Trofeo Topolino in Italy, biggest children’s race

Posted By: Zeke Piestrup on March 7, 2010 12:11 pm

PANAROTTA, Italy (March 7) – For the second day in a row 15-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin (Vail, CO; Burke Mountain Academy) took a gold medal, winning the giant slalom during the 49th running of the Trofeo Topolino, the world’s most prestigious children’s ski race.

“This didn’t come without a lot of hard work. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” Shiffrin said. “These past two days have been beautiful and perfect conditions. All of the hard work paid off and it came at the right time.”

Topolino is an important international event for young ski racers 11-15 years old, held annually in northern Italy. Past champions include recent Olympic medalists Lindsey Vonn and Andrew Weibrecht.

“People have told me that the U.S. athletes who have won at Topolino have also won an Olympic medal,” Shiffrin said. “It’s exciting for me to know that, but I also know that they’ve worked so hard since Topolino and it’s going to be a bumpy road for me too.”

Shiffrin, who is from Vail but trains at Burke Mountain Academy, became the first American to win a title since 2007 on Saturday, only to repeat her incredible win on Sunday in the giant slalom where she bested the field by a slim .11 seconds.

According to the winner, whose breakthrough came when she earned a medal in the Whistler Cup in the 2008 season, while winning was amazing, just the race itself was an award.

“The courses were great. They were rhythmical and you had to have good technique to be able to make it down with a clean run. It made you work hard and want it,” Shiffrin said. “By the end of the day it was nice to win, but at the same time I went away thinking I really did the best I could do.”

Shiffrin was followed on the podium by Adriana Jelinkova of the Netherlands in second, and Louise Jansson of Sweden in third.

Breezy Johnson (Victor, ID; Rowmark Ski Academy) followed Shiffrin for the U.S. in 30th.

In the men’s field Miha Hrobat of Slovenia won, followed in second by Mathias Graf of Austria and Giacomo Rigamonti of Italy in third. Peter Papineau (Park City, UT; Park City Ski Team) led for the U.S. men finishing 22nd.

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