World Champion Mikaela Shiffrin came from behind to win her fourth slalom race of the season, sealing the first Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom title of her young career in Lenzerheide. Shiffrin, who just celebrated her 18th birthday earlier this week on March 13, became the first U.S. slalom World Cup champion since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84. The thrilling race came to a crescendo as Shiffrin erased a 1.17 first run deficit with the fastest final run time to win over Bernadette Schild of Austria and overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia. Maze, who has posted a record shattering 2,314 point season, led the slalom standings by seven points going into the winner-take-all race. Shiffrin finished out in front by an unbelievable .71 seconds ahead of Schild to win the title.
Shiffrin will be appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman on CBS on Tuesday evening and on the TODAY Show on NBC Wednesday morning.
Following her first run, she said, “I went directly to our athlete tent and just tried to sit quietly and figure out what I needed to do to make it better. That’s something that I’ve always done is just analyze what I could do better and make it better. It’s hard to do that between runs in a race, but my mom helped, my coaches helped, my dad helped, everybody. They all just said the same thing, ‘You have to let it go. You cannot hold back. There is nothing to lose.’ So I tried to do that. I didn’t know I could make up all that time in one run, but I think that there’s some luck–it wasn’t just me out there. My whole team was there cheering me on and giving me strength to get to the finish line as fast as I could.”
She refused to accept all of the credit, as she said this following her win: “I think that half of this globe belongs to someone else. I want to thank Tina Maze. She has really helped inspire me. It felt good that second run, but I was freaking out.”
After she won, and the victory began to sink in, Shiffrin said, “Winning the slalom title was my goal from the beginning of this year. The World Championships title was amazing, but it wasn’t a goal that I had set. I almost forgot World Championships were happening this year until they happened and that was just a cherry on top of the cake. This was what I was really shooting for all season, to be consistently one of the top slalom skiers. So this means a lot to me.”
When asked about her upcoming appearance on The Late Show with Letterman, she had this to say. “Yeah, Letterman! I’m so excited about that. It’s going to be really cool. Hopefully I don’t trip when I’m going on stage. If you knew me for longer than a day, you would know that I spill things and I break things and I trip a lot. You would not think I’d be good at slalom. So we’ll see how that goes.”
Stay tuned for updates and more as Shiffrin continues to build her already legendary career!