By Gary R. Blockus | Jan. 06, 2018, 10:06 a.m. (ET)
Mikaela Shiffrin stands on the podium for women's giant slalom at the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup on Jan. 6, 2018 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

 

Mikaela Shiffrin will not be stopped heading into PyeongChang, even when feeling extremely ill.

The 22-year-old reigning world and Olympic slalom champion won her third straight race of the new year Saturday by claiming the giant slalom title in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

Shiffrin, who had already qualified for giant slalom at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, picked up her eighth world cup win of the season, third in a row, and the sixth in her last seven starts. Shiffrin’s first-ever win in Kranjska Gora marked the 39th world cup win of her career and her 56th world cup podium.

Shiffrin is the first woman to win the first three races of a calendar year since 1989.

The victory meant the Eagle-Vail, Colorado, native is now on top of four world cup leaderboards, including overall, downhill, slalom and giant slalom. She’s already reached a career-best 1,181 points in the overall standings.

Shiffrin said her illness, which included vomiting several times before the race, wasn’t fun to talk about, and shrugged it off because many of the skiers are experiencing the same symptoms, but enjoyed skiing the traditional men’s course.

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“It was super fun to ski, certainly a little bumpier, a little wide, but super fun,” she said. “I’m just having a blast racing and I wanted to keep racing.”

Shiffrin picked up her second giant slalom win of the world cup season – her first was in Courchevel, France, on Dec. 19, 2017 – by skiing to her largest giant slalom lead ever on her first run. She posted a time of 55.08 to the 55.94 by France’s Tessa Worley, who ended up second overall. Italy’s Sofia Goggia took third after finishing eighth in the first run, but assumed the lead on the second run until Worley surpassed her as the penultimate skier.

Shiffrin finished in a combined 1:47.40 to Worley’s 1:47.71 and Goggia’s 1:48.31.

Shiffrin’s season includes world cup wins in slalom at Zagreb, Croatia; Lienz, Austria; and Killington, Vermont; one downhill win at Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada; giant slalom wins in Courchevel and Kranjska Gora; and parallel slalom 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.