Beijing 2022 Olympic champion in slalom Petr Vlhova Slovakia scored its first World Cup win of the 2022-23 season on Tuesday (January 10) at the World Championships in Flachau, Austria. Victory means an American Mikaela ShiffrinHer quest to write her name in history as the most successful alpine skier in World Cup racing will need to continue.
Vlhova achieved 1:51.95 in her two slalom runs. Shiffrin moved back 0.26 (1:52.38) with Germany Lena Durr in third place (1:52.80).
“I’m really happy because it’s been a very long way to come back here and talk to you guys, so it’s been an amazing day for me,” said Vlhova, who has been on the podium seven times this season but has not won. “I’m very happy to win here because it’s something special.”
On Sunday (January 8), Shiffrin tied with compatriot Lindsey Vonn for most women’s World Cup victories after taking her 82nd career victory in the giant slalom race in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia. Just Ingemar Stenmark (86) is ahead of Vonn and Shiffrin all the time.
Shiffrin has competed 10 times at the Flachau circuit, named after the Austrian legend Hermann Maier, has been on the podium nine times and won four times in total (her last win on the track was in January 2021). Tuesday’s second place was her 130th career World Cup podium.
This season, Shiffrin is fighting for her fifth overall title, which would put her second on the all-time winning list behind the Austrian Annemarie Moser-Pröll which has six titles to its name.
The 27-year-old is currently in first place in the overall World Cup standings with 1,195 points, which is 399 points ahead of Vlhova. She was hot in the 2022-23 season, recording eight wins since November 19.
Next time it will hit the slopes during the World Cup in Cortina, Italy, scheduled for January 20-22.
Shiffrin: “I definitely don’t feel like I have a deadline.”
Despite the publicity generated by Shiffrin’s record-breaking chase, the skier herself is not focused on the task at hand. In a message available to the media ahead of the Flachau competition, the veteran skier joked that she couldn’t predict the future better than anyone else.
“This season is different though because of where I am with the records. There’s a lot more expectation that I’m going to win,” she explained. “It’s just a constant question: ‘So when will you get 82? I’m like, “Hell if I know!” “When will you get 83? Will it be today?” For example, I don’t know more than you.”
Instead, Shiffrin has learned throughout her career that she does her job best by minimizing the pressure.
“Like when I go to races with really minimal expectations and then it works really well and then I go to the next race and I still have no expectations… It’s like any race, I think it’s a dream and it’s not going to happen again.” Shiffrin said before the race in Flachau. “So I’m not worried about winning again this season.”
With 83 wins and more records on the horizon, Shiffrin isn’t happy with what these achievements mean – but even if she reaches those heights, she has no plans to stop there.
“Someone asked, ‘Are you going to just feel happy when you’re 86 or 87? Because it will just be “Oh, I’m finally over it,” Shiffrin recalls. “I thought, ‘I hope not. It’s something that should be celebrated. I hope I don’t feel relieved if I win 86 World Cup races because that’s it [expletive] is hard.
“And if I feel relieved,” she continued, “then I think bad karma is coming.”
FIS World Cup Flachau 2022 – women’s slalom results
1. Petra Vlhova, SVK, 1:51.95
2. Mikaela Shiffrin, USA, 1:52.38
3. Lena Duerr, GER, 1:52.80
4. Wendy Holdener, SUI, 1:53.49
5. Paula Moltzan, USA, 1:54.10
6. Katharina Liensberger, AUT, 1:54:57
7. Hanna Aronsson Elfman, SWE, 1:54,69
8. Jessica Hilzinger, GER, 1:54.76
9. Emma Aicher, GER, 1:55:06
10. Thea Louise Stjernesund, NOR, 1:55-12