Mikaela Shiffrin sets new World Cup alpine skiing record with 87th victory

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin set the outright World Cup record for most career victories with 87 by winning a slalom Saturday. She broke a tie with Ingemar Stenmark on the all-time overall winners list between men and women.

'Once in a millennium athlete,' says Olympic champ Bode Miller; St-Germain top Canadian

A skier cuts around a turn.
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States speeds down the course during a women's World Cup slalom on Saturday in Åre, Sweden before setting the outright World Cup record for most career victories with 87. (Alessandro Trovati/The Associated Press)

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin set the outright World Cup record for most career victories with 87 by winning a slalom Saturday.

Shiffrin broke a tie with Ingemar Stenmark on the all-time overall winners list between men and women. The Swede competed in the 1970s and 80s.

Shiffrin had matched Stenmark's mark of 86 wins with victory in a giant slalom Friday.

"Pretty hard to comprehend," Shiffrin said about the record from Åre, Sweden.

After finishing the final run, the American crouched and rested her head on her knees. Her bother, Taylor Shiffrin, then came out and hugged her during the winners ceremony.

"My brother and sister-in-law are here and I didn't know they were coming, that makes this so special," Shiffrin said.

WATCH | Shiffrin wins 87th World Cup event:

Mikaela Shiffrin skis to World Cup alpine record victory 87

21 days ago
Duration 3:34
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin now holds the record for most World Cup wins after racing to gold in the women's slalom event on Saturday in Are, Sweden.

Stenmark's record had stood since 1989, and the Swede saluted her achievement.

"She deserves the record more than anyone else," he told the FIS website, standing by an earlier prediction Shiffrin would soar past 100 wins.

"She is a complete skier. She has a good technique, but it's not only that. She has physical strength, she has a strong head — those things combined make her so good.

"And she's smart, too. She doesn't have to race at 100 per cent speed. She knows that the others have to go beyond their ability [to beat her] and that they will make some mistakes."

Saturday's result marked the American's sixth slalom win of the season and the record-extending 53rd career win in the discipline.

Shiffrin dominated the first run and posted the fifth-fastest time in the second to beat Swiss skier Wendy Holdener by 0.92 seconds.

Third-place home favourite Anna Swenn Larsson was the last racer to finish within a second of Shiffrin's time.

"The best feeling is to ski on the second run when of course you want to win, you have a lead so you have to be sort of be smart but also, I just wanted to be fast, too, and ski the second run like its own race," Shiffrin said.

"I did exactly that and that is amazing."

Winners of most alpine World Cups

  • 87: Mikaela Shiffrin, United States (2012-23)
  • 86: Ingemar Stenmark, Sweden (1974-89)
  • 82: Lindsey Vonn, U.S. (2004-18)
  • 67: Marcel Hirscher, Austria (2010-19)
  • 62: Annemarie Moser-Pröll, Austria (1970-80)
  • 55: Vreni Schneider, Switzerland (1984-95)
  • 54: Hermann Maier, Austria (1997-2009)
  • 50: Alberto Tomba, Italy (1987-98)
  • 46: Marc Girardelli, Luxembourg (1983-96)
  • 46: Renate Götschl, Austria (1993-2007)
  • 42: Anja Pärson, Sweden (1998-2011)
  • 40: Pirmin Zurbriggen, Switzerland (1982-90)

Laurence St-Germain of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., who won the slalom world title in France last month, was top Canadian in fifth, clocking 1:43.36. Toronto's Ali Nullmeyer was 22nd of 26 finishers in 1:45.63 — her eighth top-25 finish in 10 slalom races this season — while Amelia Smart of Invermere, B.C., placed 43rd in a field of 44 (56.33) in the opening run and didn't advance.

WATCH | Canada's St-Germain finishes 5th:

Quebec's Laurence St-Germain finishes 5th in World Cup slalom

21 days ago
Duration 1:37
Laurence St-Germain of Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., was the top Canadian at the women's World Cup slalom event in Åre, Sweden. She placed fifth with a time of 1:43.36.

"It was pretty cool to be in the finish for Mikaela's 87th World Cup win," St-Germain told Alpine Canada. "I'm glad that I could be there to see it happen. We've all been expecting it, and it makes an amazing story that she did it at the place where she got her first World Cup win. It's going to be a hard record to beat."

Shiffrin has already locked up her fifth overall championship and the discipline titles in slalom and GS.

"It's nice to race today. After such an incredible day yesterday, I feel like no pressure," Shiffrin said after the opening run.

The victory gave Shiffrin the outright record 12 years to the day after her first race on the World Cup, as a 15-year-old at a GS in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic.

Shiffrin is set to compete in three more races this season at next week's World Cup Finals. She has already locked up her fifth overall championship and the discipline titles in slalom and GS.

Alpine skiing Olympic gold medallist Bode Miller believes nobody in his lifetime will match fellow American Shiffrin's extraordinary leap into the World Cup record books, saying she is a "once in a millennium" athlete.

She's a once in a century or once a millennium-type athlete.— Alpine skiing Olympic champion Bode Miller on fellow American Mikaela Shiffrin

While European countries routinely dominate the Olympic medal table, Miller reckons her mark could stay within the grasp of the United States for decades to come.

"[Other countries] all want it — it's an incredible record. They all want to have their athletes do it. It's just she's a once in a century or once a millennium-type athlete," Miller told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"I don't think we'll see, at least in my lifetime, anyone come close to that again. It's just so rare."

WATCH | CBC Sports' Scott Russell examines Shiffrin's career:

Mikaela Shiffrin's road to World Cup alpine skiing record

21 days ago
Duration 3:14
CBC Sports' Scott Russell examines the career of American skier Mikaela Shiffrin who set a World Cup record for most career victories with 87.

Saturday's race took place at a venue where many key moments in Shiffrin's career happened. At the Swedish lakeside resort, she earned her first World Cup win in 2012 and took slalom gold at the 2019 world championships to become the first skier to win the world title in one discipline four times in a row.

However, Are was also the place where she sustained a knee injury that kept her away from the slopes for two months in the 2015-16 season, and where she was due to race again in March 2020 after the death of her father the previous month, but those races were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"There's just no part of it that's easy — the fitness and everything, preparation required. When you step in the gate and it gets quiet, you know, you're the only one," said Miller.

"It's not like you have a team to support you. It's like all eyes are on you and every consequence is on you."

WATCH | Full coverage of Saturday's 2nd women's slalom run:

FIS Alpine World Cup Are: Women’s slalom run 2

22 days ago
Duration 1:09:39
Watch the final run of the women's slalom event at the FIS Alpine World Cup in Are, Sweden.

With files from CBC Sports and Reuters

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