Shiffrin bags silver to write herself into record books

MERIBEL (Agencies): US star Mikaela Shiffrin wrote another chapter in her storied alpine skiing career in Meribel on Wednesday by winning world super-G silver to tie the modern record for individual world medals.

Shiffrin held on for second place behind Italy’s Marta Bassino for her 12th medal in just 15 starts at world championships. Of those 12, six are gold, three silver and three bronze.

The 27-year-old now sits atop the post-WWII record books alongside Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, who was active between 1991-2003 and won his 12 medals from 27 starts.

Officially, Germany’s Christl Cranz holds the record for most world medals, having claimed 12 gold and three silver racing between 1934-39, an era wholly different from today’s competition.

Shiffrin described her super-G as “totally wild! This day has been crazy”.
“Ski racing is a sport with so many different variables,” the American said, arguing that it had more variables than any other sport.

“It’s as simple as the weather can change during the day. The place where the shadows come from the trees changes throughout the race run… Everything is constantly changing.

“It makes it so hard to be on point and perfect every race, every run.”
Shiffrin added: “So when you get to have a run like I did today or Marta did today you have to be so proud of it because the odds and the variables are always stacked against you.

“You have to appreciate the good moments because it’s so hard to get those.”
Shiffrin admitted that she had been badgered in the run-up to the worlds by questions about her disastrous experience at last year’s Beijing Olympics when she failed to finish the slalom, giant slalom and alpine combined — three events in which she had been a keen favourite.

She also failed to get close to the podium in either the super-G or downhill.

Expectation vs reality –

That stumbling form has not continued on the World Cup circuit this season, however, with the 27-year-old American winning 11 races (including five slaloms) to come within one of Ingemar Stenmark’s overall World Cup record for victories (86). “I survived the Olympics, so I’m not afraid that it’s going to kill me if I don’t get a medal at this world championships,” she said.

“When you get asked time and time again, it’s so hard to keep the balance in your mind to answer this question… and still feel I can do this, I can ski my best, I can make it to the finish.” Shiffrin admitted that the battle between expectation and reality was an emotional rollercoaster, rolling her eyes at the memory of having skied out of the slalom section of Monday’s combined when she had been in prime condition for a gold-medal finish.

“After the combined, it was like ‘you have got to be kidding me!'” she said.

“My DNF (did not finish) rate now in my entire career, almost 50% of it is at Olympics or world championships.

“It’s almost funny, but it’s only funny because I was able to win a medal today.

“The pressure’s not off but for sure there’s a bit of relief, but it’s also so exciting. I didn’t really believe that I could ski this track the way that I did ski it.”

Next up for Shiffrin in Meribel will be the giant slalom on February 16, followed by the slalom two days later.

Topping the podium in either of those disciplines would see Shiffrin equal Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swedish racer Anja Paerson, each of whom bagged seven individual world golds in their post-WWII careers.

The American takes electric World Cup form in with her, having won five times in each discipline on the circuit this season.

Astonishing as her race-winning figures may be, Shiffrin has argued in the past that statistics and numbers “dehumanise the sport and what every athlete is trying to achieve”.

“My goal has never been to break records for most World Cup wins, points or most medals at world champs,” she has maintained.