Sunday, January 8, 2023 is a date that will stay in the memory of the American alpine ski star for a long time Mikaela Shiffrin. It was then that she won her 82nd World Cup race in Kranjska Gora and equaled Lindsey Vonn at the top of the women’s all-time list.
Just over 48 hours later, in Flachau, Austria, the two-time Olympic champion has a chance to move from number one to second place overall and get closer to Ingemar Stenmark86 victories.
But while breaking records is nice, Shiffrin doesn’t want to be fooled by the pursuit of them.
“I don’t care about numbers, I just focus on skiing,” Shiffrin, 27, told reporters after her victory in Kranjska Gora.
“Maybe at some point some people will stop talking about it (recording). I really try not to think about it. I try not to change my goals for this record. But it’s 82 victories that are impossible to describe, so it’s hard to focus.
“If I get there (86 wins), I hope I don’t feel relieved. It would be a shame to breathe a sigh of relief after 86 wins, because then it’s over. I should just celebrate what the next races bring and the rest of my career because I don’t want to ruin it by chasing some record that probably shouldn’t be broken anyway.
“I’m going to take it step by step.”
With so much pressure on her shoulders to win, the Colorado native gave an insight into how she keeps her nerves under control:
“When I get nervous, my heart beats and I can’t feel my legs. Whenever I feel like it, I try to be stronger and somehow push harder instead of being too nice to the trail.”
Mikaela Shiffrin wants to live in the moment
In 2020, the Colorado native’s world was rocked when her father died and she took a break from the sport.
After returning to the sport in 2021, she injured her back and suffered from inconsistent form for the rest of the season.
Shiffrin was still considered the favorite to win gold medals at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. However, she suffered a non-typical failure (DNF) in giant slalom and slalom before finishing ninth in super-G and failing to win a medal in the downhill and combined events.
So perhaps it’s understandable that Shiffrin would rather just enjoy the moment and get back into great shape, given the tumultuous nature of her last few seasons.
“The last 12 years have been like a billion little moments that can’t be described and maybe it’s some kind of accumulation of all those feelings you’ve had. Looking at my past doesn’t seem the same. I wish I could go back and share this with more people I love.”
“I have a feeling now that something bad is going to happen because the last time I had such a momentum was the season before my grandma and dad died, and I don’t think I deserve to break those records. I’m just trying to ski well.
“My dad took pictures of me and during most races I think about him emotionally and then refocus and bring energy to the run, which has been a big area of ??improvement for me.”