Road To The Olympic Games

Alpine Skiing

Shiffrin fights through chest cold to win 4th straight world slalom gold

​Mikaela Shiffrin fought through sickness to win an unprecedented fourth straight slalom title at the world championships in Are, Sweden. Canada's Laurence St.-Germain and Erin Mielzynski cracked the top 10, finishing sixth and 10th.

Canadians Laurence St.-Germain, Erin Mielzynski place 6th, 10th, respectively

Mikaela Shiffrin battled illness and a third-place standing after the first run to win the women's slalom on Saturday at the world championships in Are Sweden. It was the American skier's fourth consecutive victory in the event at worlds. (Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

An unprecedented victory for Mikaela Shiffrin. And easily the most dramatic.

Skiing through illness, the American barely had the energy to celebrate becoming the first ski racer — male or female — to win the same event at four straight world championships.

The 23-year-old Shiffrin won the slalom on Saturday after producing possibly the most resilient performance of her career in the second run, during which she said she "ran out of oxygen" halfway down the course.

She overturned a 0.15-second deficit from the first run to win by 0.58 from Anna Swenn-Larsson to clock a two-run time of one minute 57.05 seconds. Swenn-Larsson's time was 1:57.63.

WATCH | Mikaela Shiffrin's run to an unprecedented victory:

American Mikaela Shiffrin triumphs in first place in the women's slalom for the 4th consecutive year. 1:43
"A testament to her grittiness," Shiffrin's coach, Jeff Lackie, told The Associated Press from Are, Sweden, "and what she was able to accomplish in that second run was nothing short of incredible."

On where this performance ranked in her career, Shiffrin said, "today was something else."

St-Germain reaches objective

Laurence St-Germain, 24, was top Canadian in sixth place in 1:59.65, followed by Erin Mielzynski in 10th (2:00.59).

"My objective was to [be] top 10, and to come sixth … I'm so happy," the Quebec City-born St-Germain told Alpine Canada. She began the week ranked among the world's 15 top women's slalom racers and also placed ninth in the team event.

WATCH | Laurence St-Germain reach her top-10 goal:

Laurence St-Germain's time of 1:59.65 was the best by any Canadian throughout the event. 1:47

"I knew the conditions were hard. My first run I was a little slow out of the start but I skied well at the bottom. [For the second run] I really wanted to attack the whole way down [the course]. I didn't really know how it was going to go … but I was so surprised, and now I'm really stoked."

The 28-year-old Mielzynski finished just over a second behind St-Germain.

WATCH | Erin Mielzynski's 10th-place performance in Sweden:

Erin Mielzynski finished with a time of 2:00.59 for the day. 1:44

"I really tried to fight in the second run," said the Collingwood, Ont., resident. "I struggle when there are flats and when it's a kind of groovy snow like [we had today]."

WATCH | Erin Mielzynski discusses keys to having success:

The alpine skier has developed more trust in herself over the course of her career. 0:50

A tearful Shiffrin collapsed to the snow for a while in the finish area. There were two more racers — Swenn-Larsson, then Wendy Holdener — still to come down but her time held up.

When Holdener went off the course early in her run, Shiffrin's victory was guaranteed and she had an emotional exchange with Petra Vlhova, who finished in third place in 1:58.08.

3 medals at this year's worlds

"Everyone around me today was helping me so much to make it so that I could breathe when I needed to," Shiffrin said, her voice noticeably croaky.

"I don't want people to think, 'Oh, I'm sick and I won.' I mean I was really pushing and maybe I couldn't have done better if I was feeling normal."

It was a second gold of these championships for Shiffrin after winning the super-G. She also took bronze in the giant slalom.

She has won five golds at the words, and seven medals in total — putting her just one off the American record held by Lindsey Vonn.

Shiffrin had the fastest second run by 0.62 seconds.

"She's a standout and had a standout run," said Livio Magoni, Vlhova's coach. "There's nothing to say. Technically, it's worth watching over and over again to learn from."

Swenn Larsson won Sweden's first medal of the championships. Vlhova's bronze added to the gold she won in the giant slalom.

Other Canadian results:

  • Roni Remme, Collingwood, Ont. — 12th
  • Amelia Smart, Invermere, B.C. — 22nd

With files from CBC Sports

Broadcast Partners


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.