(L-R) Wendy Holdener of Switzerland, Mikaela Shiffrin and Frida Hansdotter of Sweden takes third pose on the podium for women's slalom at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on Jan. 3, 2018 in Zagreb, Croatia.
Mikaela Shiffrin is crushing the competition and continues to set the bar for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.
On Wednesday, Shiffrin decimated her rivals in slalom to win the Snow Queen Trophy at the FIS World Cup in Zagreb, Croatia. It was the third Snow Queen crown for Shiffrin, who at 17 in 2013 was the youngest one in the event’s history.
Shiffrin, 22, picked up her 38th career world cup, winning by more than 1.5 seconds over her next-closest rival. She clocked 1:53.07 over her two runs, leaving Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener back at 1:54.66, a huge 1.59 second gap. Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter took third in 1:55.18.
Shiffrin, from Eagle-Vail, Colorado, is the reigning Olympic and world champion in the slalom, and has already qualified for PyeongChang in slalom and giant slalom. She is far and away the overall world cup leader and has won five of her last six events.
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Shiffrin built a 1.41-second gap after the first run in Zagreb, posting a 52.99 on the Crveni Spust run that featured a 220-meter vertical drop. Holdener was second on that run in 54.40, while Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova was third in 54.60. Hansdotter was fifth in 55.03.
Shiffrin posted the sixth-best time in the second run, going 1:00.08, skiing safely through deteriorating conditions.
With her third slalom victory of the season, Shiffrin moved ahead of her childhood idol, Austria’s Marlies Schild, all alone into fifth place on the all-time FIS world cups wins list.
Shiffrin’s 28th world cup win in slalom places her third on that all-time list behind Schild with 35 and Switzerland’s Vreni Schneider with 34.
The American skier has 55 career world cup podiums.
She has world cup wins in slalom at Lienz, Austria on Dec. 28 and in Killington, Vermont on Nov. 26, downhill at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada on Dec. 2, giant slalom on Dec. 19 in Courchevel, France, and parallel slalom on Dec. 20 in Courchevel. She also kicked off 2018 by winning the Oslo city event parallel slalom on New Year’s Day.
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.