Mikaela Shiffrin takes slalom for 7th World Cup win of season
American skier held big lead after 1st run; Canada's Erin Mielzynski cracks top-10
Mikaela Shiffrin passed the 1,000-point milestone for the women's World Cup season on Wednesday after just 14 starts.
The Olympic champion from the United States took a slalom by a huge margin for her seventh win of the season, and 38th overall.
After skipping two speed races in Val d'Isere last month, Shiffrin leads the overall standings with 1,081 points after 16 of this season's 38 races. Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, who didn't enter Wednesday's slalom, trails by 571 points in second.
If Shiffrin maintains her point average, she would finish the season by setting an all-time record of 2,567 points, easily beating the current best mark of 2,414 set by retired Slovenian standout Tina Maze five years ago.
"I don't know if I will ever be able to do that. It's not really one of my goals," the American said after the race in Zagreb, Croatia. "I also have so much respect for the season that Tina Maze had with so many points, it was incredible. There is a part of me that hopes that nobody ever beats that because she should really be remembered as one of the best ski racers of all time."
Won 5 of past 6 races
Shiffrin, who is the defending overall and four-time slalom World Cup champion, has won five of the last six World Cup races, including last week's slalom in Lienz where she led the field by more than a second after the opening run, a feat she repeated on Wednesday.
In the second run, Shiffrin defied strong winds and heavy snowfall to beat Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 1.59 seconds. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was 2.11 behind in third, while Slovakia's Petra Vlhova, the only skier to beat Shiffrin in a slalom event this season, finished 2.24 off the lead in fourth.
"The second run was much closer," said Shiffrin, who started the final leg with a 1.41-second advantage. "The first run I was really, really aggressive. It seems like, maybe, I was more aggressive than everyone else."
Toronto's Erin Mielzynski finished 2.96 seconds back in seventh.
Mielzynski secures spot in Pyeongchang
"It feels really good to be back in the top ten," said Mielzynski. "It's a relief. I've made a lot of changes to my skiing and it's been hard to find that race pace and really go for it.
" ... I find confidence in this result and in the process. Sometimes you question the process but the coaches and I are staying on the same track and today shows that the whole team is doing the right thing. I made some mistakes on the top section but the bottom I really made up some time and it's something to build on."
Mielzynski has now met the minimum criteria to qualify for the Winter Olympics in February.
"It feels amazing to qualify for the Games and make the step now," said Mielzynski. "I can build into February with that off my shoulders. It's such a sigh of relief to tick that off and focus on the next step."
Meanwhile, Roni Remme of Collingwood, Ont., was 3.35 seconds back of the winner for 11th place, while Laurence St-Germain of St. Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., did not qualify for the second run.