Shiffrin’s quest for win 86 moves to Stenmark’s Sweden
KVITFJELL, Norway (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin’s quest to tie Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s record of 86 career World Cup victories now moves to his home country.
Shiffrin’s next race is a giant slalom in Are on Friday, as the American skier seeks one victory to match Stenmark’s total on the all-time overall winners list — between men and women. The Swede competed in the 1970s and 80s.
Are was also the venue of Shiffrin’s first career win, in December 2012.
Shiffrin rounded off a three-race weekend in Norway Sunday by finishing in seventh position at a super-G affected by changing weather conditions. The American was fourth in a super-G Friday and fifth in a downhill the following day to lock up her fifth World Cup overall title.
On Sunday, Shiffrin was among the early starters when low clouds caused flat light and snowfall slowed most racers before later starters benefited from improved conditions when skies cleared.
Wearing bib 31, Nina Ortlieb led an Austrian sweep of the podium ahead of Stephanie Venier, who started 29th, and Franziska Gritsch, who started 26th.
“It’s slow with the snow on the flat part,” Shiffrin said. “But I also felt very strong down there pushing the limits, so I’m super happy with my run.”
Shiffrin broke a tie on the all-time women’s list with former American teammate Lindsey Vonn in January. Vonn had 82 wins when she retired in 2019.
Shiffrin has been stuck on 85 World Cup wins for four events now, and the American didn’t got a real chance Sunday to end the wait.
“The conditions are changing so much, it’s not one of those days where I can really compare myself to what’s going on with the results,” Shiffrin said.
“But my skiing was good, I was aggressive, so I’m actually really happy with that. In this group of women going around me, to be kind of this fast, that was a really, really good sign.”
Sofia Goggia was the first racer from the top 20-ranked skiers in fourth position, trailing Ortlieb by 0.69 seconds.
The Italian, who locked up the downhill season title Saturday, looked set for victory when sitting in the leader seat after all other pre-race favorites were down.
“I’m happy with my ski performance but the race has changed too much,” Goggia said. “We came down with criminal conditions and now there’s the sun and everything’s really fast.”
Ortlieb acknowledged the conditions gave her an advantage.
“Unbelievable. I knew at the start the conditions were getting better and better,” the Austrian said. “I was lucky. I’m sure that it was not fair for everyone, but I got the opportunity and I think I skied well.”
Right after finishing, Ortlieb looked around in apparent disbelief, then shook her head a few times.
“A little crazy to see the green light in the finish. I was a little bit confused, but it’s amazing,” said Ortlieb, who was only 29th in Friday’s super-G on the same course.
“I got a big improvement from two days ago, when I was skiing without confidence,” the Austrian said after her second career win.
Ortlieb’s win marked only the second victory for the Austrian women’s team this season after Cornelia Huetter triumphed in Friday’s super-G.
It was the first Austrian sweep in a women’s super-G since Alexandra Meissnitzer, Andrea Fischbacher and Michaela Dorfmeister finished on the podium in Lake Louise, Alberta in December 2005.
Ortlieb became the seventh different winner in seven World Cup super-G races this season.
Elena Curtoni tops the discipline standings before the season-ending race in Andorra on March 16, but four skiers are within 44 points of the Italian’s lead. Shiffrin won one super-G this campaign but is out of contention for the season title, trailing Curtoni by 110 points in sixth.
The race was interrupted after Alice Robinson crashed and slid into the safety nets on a tricky passage near the end of her run but the New Zealand racer appeared unhurt.