Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates at FIS World Ski Championships Women's Slalom on Feb. 16, 2019 in Are, Sweden.
Mikaela Shiffrin is so far ahead of the rest of the world that she wins even when she doesn’t show up.
It was in this odd fashion that the 23-year-old clinched her third consecutive overall crystal globe Saturday, far from the slopes of Sochi, Russia, where Saturday’s super-G event, hastily arranged following the cancellation of the downhill, was also cancelled due to heavy snowfall.
That leaves only next week’s world cup in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic, and 700 world cup points left to claim. Shiffrin currently leads Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova in the overall standings by 719 points.
Shiffrin wasn’t planning to race in the Sochi event anyway — instead, she’s training in Italy, where she headed following gold medals in the slalom and super-G at last month’s FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden.
“It’s a strange thing,” Shiffrin acknowledged in a video posted on Twitter. “It’s strange because I’m sitting here on my bed. I didn’t do anything … it’s like, ‘You woke up today, here’s an overall globe.’”
It’s been a strange and wonderful season for the Eagle-Vail, Colorado, native, who cemented her status as the greatest skier in the world this year (and continues to make a case for greatest of all time), with 14 wins, becoming the only skier ever to have captured a world cup title in every alpine skiing discipline, and one of just seven to have won in all six traditional alpine disciplines.
After years of dominating women’s slalom, she emerged as a super-G star as well, with victories in Lake Louise, St. Moritz and Cortina d’Ampezzo. In Are, her slalom victory made her the first skier ever to win four back-to-back world titles in any discipline, and her 14 wins on the world cup circuit this season — tying Swiss legend Vreni Schneider’s record from 30 years ago — brings her total to 57.
Two weeks shy of her 24th birthday, that puts Shiffrin well within striking distance of Ingemar Stenmark’s 86 career victories, the all-time record.
“The overall globe has been a dream of mine ever since I was a little girl,” Shiffrin said. “This year it’s even more special because a fair portion of my wins have come in super-G. I always felt like I wanted to be able to earn it in all events, and I’m working on getting to the point where I can earn it in slalom, GS, super-G and downhill, but I felt like this season was a really big step. Here I am.”