American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin halted a two-race losing streak to Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova with a commanding home victory in the World Cup slalom in Killington on Sunday.
Shiffrin trailed Vlhova by 2 tenths of a second after the first runs but more than made up the gap to triumph in a combined 1 minute 38.33 seconds for her fifth win at the venue.
Vlhova struggled in the second run after an early mistake cost her peed. She finished 0.75 seconds off the pace, only eight hundredths ahead of Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener in third.
“It was a great fight,” an emotional Shiffrin said in first interviews. “I have heard the fans. A bigger show is hardly possible. I really don’t know if I can ski a faster slalom.”
Shiffrin now has 46 slalom victories, matching the single discipline record held by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark who took 46 giant slalom wins.
“It’s so hard to explain,” Shiffrin said. “Of course it means something – but I don’t know what.
“It’s a number – I actually don’t look at them at all. But it’s special.”
The multiple Olympic and world champion Shiffrin has struggled for top form recently and was second to reigning overall champion Vlhova in both Levi slaloms earlier this month.
She now has 71 World Cup wins to close in on Stenmark’s overall record of 86.
This particular win is not enough to dislodge Vlhova from the top of the standings but she closed to within 20 points going into three speed races, two downhills and a super-g, in Canada’s Lake Louise Friday to Sunday.
Saturday’s giant slalom in Killington was abandoned due to the wind and the women will hope for more luck than the men in Lake Louise, where a super-g was cancelled due to the weather on Sunday.
Only one of three races could take place over the weekend, Saturday’s downhill won by Austrian Matthias Mayer, after Friday’s downhill was also scrapped due to snowfall.
That race was already added to next week’s schedule at Beaver Creek in the United States in an amended calendar published by the governing FIS.
The Beaver Creek program now starts with two super-g races Thursday and Friday with consecutive downhills following Saturday and Sunday.
There was a scare over who could compete there as governing FIS race chief Markus Waldner told Austrian broadcaster ORF that 10 people had tested positive for the coronavirus in Lake Louise.
“They were immediately isolated in the night, contact persons checked and so on,” he said.
However, the FIS later said nine of those involved had since tested negative, leaving only one person seemingly infected.
Travelling back to the US from Canada for the next races could now be an issue as without a negative test it is not permitted to cross the border.