Shiffrin beaten in slalom, has at least 5-week wait for next World Cup record attempt

Mikaela Shiffrin finished second in a slalom Sunday and remains one victory short of Ingemar Stenmark's total of 85 on the all-time overall winners list among men and women.

U.S. star held commanding 1st-run lead but posted only 14th-fastest time in 2nd try

An alpine skier is seen up close while going down a track, focused.
Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States finished second in a women's World Cup slalom Sunday in Špindlerův Mlýn, Czech Republic, and remains one victory short of Ingemar Stenmark's total on the all-time overall winners list. (Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom)

A shake of the head, lips pouting … but then all smiles.

Mikaela Shiffrin was quick to take the positives after realizing she had to wait for at least five more weeks before tying the alpine World Cup record for most career wins with victory No. 86.

The American skier posted a two-run time of one minute 30.97 seconds, finishing runner-up to Germany's Lena Durr (1:30.91) in a slalom Sunday in the Czech Republic, the last World Cup race before the Feb. 6-19 world championships in Meribel, France.

Shiffrin remains one victory short of Ingemar Stenmark's total on the all-time overall winners list among men and women. The Swede competed in the 1970s and '80s.

"Life has changed me, but I feel my skiing has improved over the last years," Shiffrin said from Spindleruv Mlyn. "And I'm maybe a better skier than I've ever been in my life. And that's pretty cool."

In front of a large and energetic crowd, Laurence St-Germain of St. Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., turned in the best Canadian performance, clocking 1:32.53 for seventh of 30 finishers.

A model of consistency, the 28-year-old recorded the 10th fastest first and second runs one day after placing 15th. It marked St-Germain's fourth consecutive top-25 finish and her sixth race earning World Cup points this season.

"It was great to put together two solids runs and I'm really happy to be back in the top 10," St-Germain told Alpine Canada. "The crowd was amazing today, cheering and supporting everyone. This gives me a lot of motivation to prepare for the world championships."

WATCH l St-Germain picks up crucial points with top-10 finish:

Canada's Laurence St-Germain gets 7th place slalom finish in Czech Republic

4 months ago
Duration 1:27
The St. Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que native picked up crucial points thanks to a top-ten finish at the World Cup event in Spindleruv Mlyn.

Amelia Smart of Invermere, B.C., was 20th in 1:33.48, her fifth consecutive race in the points, while Toronto's Ali Nullmeyer was 38th in the opening run (48.16) and didn't advance.

Meanwhile, even though Shiffrin didn't match Stenmark's record, she has returned to winning races at a similar pace to that of the 2018-19 season. She racked up a record 17 victories that year, and has already picked up 11 wins from 23 starts in the current season, including three in the past six days.

Shiffrin's next chance to break Stenmark's record will be in March when she resumes World Cup racing after worlds in France. World championship races do not count toward World Cup wins.

"I don't have any expectations going into it," Shiffrin said about her next World Cup event, which will be either at the speed races in Kvitfjell, Norway on March 4-5 or tech races in Are, Sweden the following week.

Secures slalom season title

"It's just like every race of the season, trying to take it all in and enjoy — enjoy my skiing, enjoy when the other athletes are skiing better. Because there is always some to learn from that."

Shiffrin had broken a tie on the all-time women's list with former American teammate Lindsey Vonn last Tuesday. Vonn had 82 wins when she retired in 2019.

Shiffrin, however, still set a record Sunday.

Her second place gave her an insurmountable lead in the season-long slalom standings with two races to spare. Her closest challenger, Wendy Holdener, failed to qualify for the second run and didn't score World Cup points.

WATCH l Shiffrin earns slalom silver, 1 win shy of Stenmark record:

Shiffrin comes up short with slalom silver going for record-tying World Cup win

4 months ago
Duration 2:27
The American's second-place finish in the Czech Republic means she will have to wait to try and break the all-time record of 86 wins.

It made Shiffrin the first woman to win seven season titles in slalom, surpassing Swiss standout Vreni Schneider, who won it six times in the 1980s and '90s.

The women's record for most titles in any discipline is held by Vonn, who won eight crystal globes as the best downhill skier of the season.

Racing at the resort near the Czech-Polish border where she had her World Cup debut as a 15-year-old almost 12 years ago, Shiffrin dominated a slalom on the same course Saturday, posting the fastest times in both runs for her career win 85.

On Sunday, Shiffrin held a commanding first-run lead of 0.67 seconds over Duerr, but posted only the 14th-fastest time in the final run and was edged by 0.06 by the German skier.

"I felt like the first run I skied very well, and I actually skied quite well in the second as well," Shiffrin said. "And six-tenths is actually not so much time. Lena has been strong all season and she deserves to win."

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

FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup - Spindleruv Mlyn: Women's slalom run 2

4 months ago
Duration 1:37:50
Would Mikaela Shiffrin get her record-tying victory at the World Cup event in the Czech Republic?

It was Duerr's second World Cup victory, coming 10 years to the day after she won a city event in Moscow.

"Crazy that today is the day," Duerr said. "It took me a while, I just tried to risk it all. I had a little mistake down in the flat and I just thought: 'Go all-in.'"

It was the first slalom victory for the German women's team since Maria Höfl-Riesch triumphed in Levi, Finland, in November 2012.

Zrinka Ljutic was 0.49 behind in third for her first career World Cup podium. The Croatian skier won the junior world title in slalom this month.

Shiffrin's long-term main rival in slalom, Olympic champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia, was fifth after the opening run but had a series of uncharacteristic mistakes in the second as she dropped to 13th, more than two seconds behind Duerr and Shiffrin.

It ended a 17-race series in slalom in which Vlhova had not finished worse than fourth.

With files from CBC Sports

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