Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon finished third in a women's World Cup slalom in Switzerland on Monday, while American star Mikaela Shiffrin won by almost half a second in her first race after two months out due to injury.
Gagnon, from Lac-Etchemin, Que., roared back from 11th place after the opening run to reach her first World Cup slalom podium since March 2012. She won a combined race in January 2014 for the only other medal of her career.
Two years later, I'm back on the podium!!!! I couldn't be more excited and happy, the smile… https://t.co/jLC3I69O9f— @MarieMGagnon
Shiffrin, the reigning Olympic and world champion who has won the World Cup slalom title in each of the last three seasons, put down a pair of superb runs, finishing 0.45 seconds faster than Nastasia Noens of France and 0.50 ahead of Gagnon.
With fog and recent heavy snowfall making for difficult conditions, three of the top 10 skiers after the first run did not finish: Michelle Gisin, Petra Vlhova and Canada's Erin Mielzynski.
It was Shiffrin's first race since tearing a ligament in her right knee in December. She started skiing again only two weeks ago.
"I came in blind a little bit," she said. "I knew my training skiing was some of the best I was doing but I just wasn't sure. It was kind of close your eyes and go, see what happens at the end of the run."
Shiffrin won two slaloms this season — both in Aspen, Colorado, and both by big margins — before the training mishap in Sweden. She has won her last six slaloms stretching back to last season.
World Cup slalom leader Frida Hansdotter finished sixth, 5.89 behind Shiffrin. The Swede has 675 points, 156 more than Sarka Strachova. The Czech skier came in seventh, two places above Veronika Velez-Zuzulova of Slovakia, who dropped to third in the slalom standings.
Shiffrin is 219 points behind Hansdotter.
There are only two slalom races left along with a parallel event this month in Stockholm that counts in the slalom standings.