THREE-FOR-THREE

Mikaela Shiffrin wins again

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Eric Willem­sen

sem­mer­ing, aus­tria» For once, even Olympic slalom cham­pion Mikaela Shiffrin couldn’t be­lieve what she had just achieved.

The Amer­i­can re­acted by hold­ing her right hand to her mouth in sur­prise af­ter her spec­tac­u­lar fi­nal run in front of 13,500 spec­ta­tors se­cured vic­tory in a World Cup night slalom on Thurs­day.

Shiffrin, of Ea­gleVail, man­aged to over­come sev­eral mis­takes and a 0.33-sec­ond deficit at the last split time to pro­duce a re­sound­ing win­ning mar­gin of 0.64 sec­onds.

To make things even sweeter, it was her third World Cup tri­umph in as many days.

“To­day was re­ally crazy. It was a fight,” Shiffrin said. “I had a mis­take and I knew I just had to keep go­ing, go­ing, go­ing.”

En­joy­ing a slim open­ing-run lead, Shiffrin com­fort­ably beat Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slo­vakia, while Wendy Hold­ener of Switzer­land was 1.54 sec­onds back in third.

Velez Zuzulova put Shiffrin un­der pres­sure with a strong sec­ond run, but the Slo­vak ac­knowl­edged “it was not enough, again.

“With Mikaela you never know what hap­pens. I am get­ting close, but I still need more train­ing,” said Velez Zuzulova, who has fin­ished run­ner-up to the Amer­i­can for the past three slaloms.

Af­ter win­ning two gi­ant slaloms the pre­vi­ous days, Shiffrin con­tin­ued her dom­i­nance in slalom by land­ing her 23th ca­reer win in the dis­ci­pline.

She has won all 12 World Cup slaloms she com­peted in since Fe­bru­ary 2015, hav­ing sat out five races with a right knee in­jury last sea­son. That two-month lay­off also cost her the sea­son ti­tle in slalom, which she had won the pre­vi­ous three years.

To keep her win­ning streak run­ning, Shiffrin had to over­come stom­ach prob­lems.

She had been far from clean in her open­ing run, com­ing close to miss­ing a gate twice and be­ing 0.1 off the lead be­fore find­ing enough speed in the bot­tom sec­tion to beat Velez Zuzulova by 0.09.

“I think I fought harder than any other run I’ve ever skied in slalom,” Shiffrin said, as she asked for a chair to sit down on while wait­ing in front of the leader­board.

“The past races, it has been mostly nerves. When you get to the start, all of sud­den I get to feel re­ally, re­ally sick,” she said. “To­day, ac­tu­ally, I am not sick but the past days I have been sick, so I wasn’t re­ally sure if I was sick like you have the flu or sick be­cause of nerves. I was OK for the sec­ond part of my runs, so then it’s good.”

Shiffrin’s feat of win­ning three races in three days is not unique. Lind­sey Vonn has man­aged it on four oc­ca­sions — at Haus im Ennstal in 2010, and at Lake Louise in 2011, 2012 and 2015.

The women’s World Cup con­tin­ues with three more tech­ni­cal events — a slalom in Za­greb, Croa­tia, on Tues­day, fol­lowed by a GS and slalom in Mari­bor, Slove­nia, at the week­end.

Amer­i­can Mikaela Shiffrin cel­e­brates af­ter se­cur­ing vic­tory in a World Cup night slalom on Thurs­day.

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