Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the Women's Super-G during the FIS World Ski Championships on Feb. 11, 2021 in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy.
Mikaela Shiffrin came back to show her speed, and she did just that on Thursday by finishing third in the women’s super-G as the alpine skiing world championships finally got underway after three days of weather delays in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Shiffrin, coming off an early end to last season and then an abbreviated offseason, had elected to focus only on the two technical events — slalom and giant slalom — so far this world cup season.
Racing her first super-G since Jan. 26, 2020, she made it count.
The two-time Olympic champion finished just .47 seconds behind Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland, with fellow Swiss skier Corinne Suter taking second. The result marked Shiffrin’s eighth career medal at the world championships, tying her with Lindsey Vonn for the U.S. record.
Shiffrin, the defending world champ in the super-G, was leading midway down the hill but a late correction toward the bottom slowed her down.
“It’s a disappointment not to win gold. But after a year of not starting in super-G and some really, really good training in the last two weeks, I was able to ski the way that I wanted to,” Shiffrin said, according to the Associated Press. “Even when I made a mistake, I still felt good about my skiing.”
The women’s super-G marked the long-delayed beginning to this year’s world championships, which have seen multiple weather days so far this week. In a men’s super-G that followed, Travis Ganong was the top American in eighth place.
Thursday also marked a long-awaited return to a speed event for Shiffrin, who ended last season early following the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, on Feb. 2, 2020. In 10 technical races so far this season, Shiffrin has recorded two wins and never finished lower than sixth.
She plans to compete in a speed race again Monday in the combined, which involves a downhill and slalom race. Shiffrin will then wrap up with her two signature races next week, competing in the giant slalom next Thursday and the slalom two days later. An Olympic gold medalist in both events, Shiffrin is a four-time world champion in slalom.
Another world title in Cortina would give Shiffrin six, which would put her first among Americans. She’s currently tied with Ted Ligety.