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Magnificent 1st-place advantage propels Mikaela Shiffrin to the brink of slalom milestone

Big 1st-run lead makes Mikaela Shiffrin reach the edge of slalom record

No one other than Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark has achieved victory in more World Cup slaloms than 40, a feat accomplished between 1974 and 1987.Although it appears to be only a matter of time until Mikaela Shiffrin joins the elite 40-win club, she was already focused on surpassing her personal best.

“Records are destined to be surpassed. Somebody will eventually come along and surpass my record, and I welcome that because it signifies that maybe I have been a source of inspiration for someone as much as Marlies was for me,” Shiffrin remarked. “If I can inspire any young athlete as deeply as she inspired me, then I have fulfilled my purpose in this sport.”

With more than 10,000 spectators at the Zauberberg, Shiffrin extended her lead significantly in the first run, securing a victory over Petra Vlhova of Slovakia by 0.29 seconds and Wendy Holdener of Switzerland by 0.38, marking her 51st career triumph.Following her triumph on Saturday, Shiffrin currently stands as the lone skier, regardless of gender, to have claimed 15 World Cup races in a single calendar year, surpassing the previous record held by men’s overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who clinched 14 victories in 2018.

Both Shiffrin and Hirscher shattered the forty-year-old record established by Stenmark. However, Shiffrin has participated in 27 events this year, while Stenmark only raced in 19 events, claiming 13 victories in total in 1979 when the World Cup did not include super-G races, parallel slaloms, or city events.The only World Cup slalom Shiffrin did not win in 2018 was held in Switzerland in January, the final event before the Pyeongchang Olympics.

In South Korea, she narrowly missed the podium, finishing in fourth place in her strongest discipline; however, Shiffrin swiftly regained her form and has continued her winning streak since the World Cup resumed in March.This means that Shiffrin has emerged victorious in 11 out of the final 12 races, winning 27 out of the last 33 World Cup slaloms she has contested.

“It’s somewhat surreal, in every sense of the term,” remarked the 23-year-old Shiffrin regarding her accomplishments in 2018, which included claiming Olympic gold in giant slalom and clinching her second consecutive overall World Cup title.“This year has been quite eventful,” she continued. “The most significant improvement for me this year was the ability to acknowledge discussions about records, respond to them, but not allow them to become a distraction.”

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