By Gary R. Blockus | Nov. 11, 2017, 11:22 a.m. (ET)
Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the women's slalom at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on Nov. 11, 2017 in Levi, Finland.

 

Reigning Olympic and world champion Mikaela Shiffrin opened the slalom world cup season by finishing second at the FIS World Cup in Levi, Finland, on Saturday.

Shiffrin, 22, clocked the fastest opening run ahead of Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova and Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter. Vlhova finished first on the second run, and won the gold medal with a combined time of 1:49.98. Shiffrin’s combined time was just behind at 1:50.08, and ahead of Wendy Holdener of Switzerland, who finished third in 1:51.33.

Shiffrin set the pace with an opening run of 55.66 with Vlhova going 55.87. Vlhova went 54.11 in the second run, while Shiffrin posted a 54.42.

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The first woman in 78 years to win three consecutive slalom world titles (2013, 2015, 2017), Shiffrin is the reigning overall world cup winner.

A native of Vail, Colorado, Shiffrin made history at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014 by becoming the youngest Olympic slalom champion at 18 years and 345 days old. She also finished fifth in the giant slalom in Sochi.

Shiffrin, who hopes to compete in as many as four alpine events at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, is looking to become the second American skier to win two gold medals in one Olympic Winter Games. Andrea Mead Lawrence won gold medals in slalom and giant slalom at the 1952 Games in Oslo, Norway.

The men’s slalom competition takes place on Sunday.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.