Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on March 20, 2021 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Mikaela Shiffrin entered Saturday’s final slalom world cup of the season needing to leapfrog both Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova and Austria’s Katharina Liensberger to win a seventh slalom crystal globe. She was able to get past Vlhova but couldn’t top Liensberger, settling for second both on the day and in the season standings.
Vlhova, the overall crystal globe winner and winner of four of eight slalom events going into Saturday, left the door open for both Shiffrin and Liensberger after her first run had her in sixth place. Her second run left her in second with five skiers left, leaving it up to Shiffrin and Liensberger, who were separated by just 15 points. Shiffrin vaulted into the lead, needing just to beat Liensberger to win the globe. But the Austrian — the reigning slalom world champion — topped her by .34 seconds with the final run of the day to win the hardware. Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin was third. Team USA’s Paula Moltzan finished seventh.
It’s the second year in a row that Shiffrin finishes in second in the slalom standings after winning the previous three titles and six of seven. The last two years have seen Shiffrin rally back from personal tragedy with the unexpected death of her father Jeff in February 2020, the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and injury. But Shiffrin responded by not only contending for another world cup title but also having her best-ever performance at the world championships with four medals, making her the most decorated American skier — man or woman — in that event.
The alpine world cup season concludes Sunday with men’s slalom and women’s giant slalom. Italy’s Marta Bassino has already locked up the giant slalom crystal globe, but Shiffrin could finish as high as second.