Mikaela Shiffrin refuses to be drawn into the debate over who is the greatest athlete in the history of alpine skiing.
Even after she became the most successful female skier in World Cup history and came close to the overall win record, the help of the Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmarkthe American superstar preferred to praise the “tremendous group effort” of her team.
“In the moments when these historic things happen, it’s not just me, it’s my entire team,” the American superstar said in a video press conference on Wednesday (January 25). “Mostly we are nervous, tired and really very insecure. And yesterday and today, every time I feel a twinge of nervousness and my heart starts to beat uncontrollably, I really try to focus on the feeling I have on the GS skis, because that’s the greatest feeling.”
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Shiffrin claimed her 83rd World Cup victory by winning the giant slalom race at Kronplatz in Italy on Tuesday (January 24) ahead of her American compatriot Lindsey Vonn in the women’s all-time rankings, and a day later (January 25) secured her 84th win, coming within an inch of Stenmark’s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup record of 86 wins.
Shiffrin, 27, could equal the all-time record this weekend when she travels to Špindler?v Mlýn in the Czech Republic for two slalom races.
When asked about the prospect of beating Stenmark’s total and making history, Shiffrin was quick to praise the legacy of the two-time Olympic champion.
“His heritage is synonymous with ski racing,” said Shiffrin. “If anyone knows anything about ski racing, or even if they don’t, they know about Ingemar Stenmark. I don’t think that’s something I can surpass – he set the standard for what ski racing has become.
“Of course there’s so much talk about numbers and records and I understand why everyone wants to ask that and it’s good for me to talk about it, but when I’m in the starting gate I really try no focus on it.
While the pursuit of records may not be part of Shiffrin’s interest, there is nothing she can do to stem the tide of excitement that surrounds her. Even so, Shiffrin believes that just being listed in the same breath as Stenmark and other skiing legends is enough of an achievement.
“You take number 83 – technically that’s more wins than any female skier in history, but there’s always going to be a huge group of people who believe Lindsey (Vonn) is the greatest female skier of all time, and that’s their argument.
“I think that’s the whole beauty of sport, and the magic of it is that you can argue about it because people value different things. I love it in [sports]I love that there will be a lot of people who don’t care what I achieve.
“There will always be people who say Ingemar is the greatest, or Marcel Hirscher is the greatest or Lindsey is the greatest and their legacy will always remain intact and they will always be part of racing history because of it.
“Obviously, people will say that about me too, and I think the biggest achievement is being part of that conversation, but I’m not so worried about picking on the numbers because I don’t think it really makes a difference.”
Spindleruv Mlyn hosted Shiffrin’s first World Cup race in 2011 as a 15-year-old, and now the 27-year-old returns to the Czech resort as the best female competitor in World Cup history.
She will be in action on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2023 and two wins will move her up to Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmarkrecord 86.
Shiffrin has had a good run in his favorite technical events, having won seven of the last nine technical races (slalom and giant slalom) since December 27.
The American’s only other races in Špindler?v Mlýn since her debut race in March 2011 was a third place in the giant slalom in 2019 before winning the slalom race the next day.
Shiffrin leads the overall World Cup classification Lara Gut-Behrami by 611 pts.
This season, Shiffrin is fighting for her fifth overall title, which would put her second on the all-time winners list, behind Austria Annemarie Moser-Pröllwhich has six titles to its credit.
Schedule: Mikaela Shiffrin at the Alpine Ski World Cup 2022/23 – Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic
Below is the schedule of the women’s slalom races in Špindler?v Mlýn on January 28 and 29, 2023.
Saturday January 28, 2023
- Slalom Run 1 from 9:30am CET (3:30am EST)
- Slalom 2 from 12:30 PM EST (6:30 AM EST)
Sunday January 29, 2023
- Slalom 1 from 9:15 AM EST (3:15 AM EST)
- Slalom Course 2 from 12:15 p.m. CET (6:15 a.m. EST)
How to watch Mikaela Shiffrin at the 2022/23 Alpine Ski World Cup in Spindleruv Mlyn
Fans in the US can watch Shiffrin live skiandsnowboard.live.
In Europe, all FIS Alpine Ski World Cup events are broadcast live Eurosport and Discovery+ digital platforms.
For more on how to watch Mikaela Shiffrin and Team USA this World Cup season click here.