The 27-year-old American won her 82nd World Cup event, a giant slalom in Kranjska Gora, a tally her compatriot reached at 33
The question wasn’t really ‘if’ Mikaela Shiffrin would match Lindsey Vonn’s record number of Alpine Skiing World Cup victories, but ‘when’. It was Sunday January 8, 2023 in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, at the end of the second giant slalom of the weekend. In the lead after the first race, the American imposed herself as boss with 77 hundredths ahead – an eternity – over the Italian Federica Brignone. Lara Gut-Behrami completes the podium.
Since the start of her elite career in 2011, Mikaela Shiffrin has been breaking records. There were those of precocity, then the others, the real ones, those which fix the place of an athlete in the history of his discipline. The number of World Cup victories is one of the most prestigious in alpine skiing, because it tells of longevity.
Eight years on the throne
When Lindsey Vonn reached the number of 82 successes, 20 more than her predecessor Annemarie Moser-Pröll, winning in each of the four main specialties of her sport (downhill, super-G, giant, slalom), observers thought that the case was closed for a long time – maybe forever. In fact, the “Speed Queen” only held this throne for “only” eight years. She shares it today with a compatriot who, most likely, will soon eject her.
Lindsey Vonn reached 82 World Cup victories at the twilight of her glorious career, at the age of 33. Mikaela Shiffrin will not celebrate her 28th birthday until March: she is in the best years of a skier, when the accumulated experience is already benefiting and the weight of the years does not yet count. Moreover, at this stage, she has not been (too) slowed down by injuries which, by accumulating, are likely to drastically reduce an athlete’s skiing hope.
Embodiment of versatility
In short, the champion only appears at the beginning of her story, as confirmed by the insolent domination she exercises this season. Leader of the general classification of the World Cup, it has already won 8 of the 17 races contested, all specialties combined. There are 22 remaining on the winter schedule, and with her current level of fitness and confidence, she looks set to win a good chunk of them.
Her overall record makes her the absolute embodiment of versatility: she is the only skier in history to have won in each of the seven types of race that exist or have existed at the highest level: she has 51 successes in slalom, 17 in giant, 5 in super-G, 3 in downhill, 1 in combined, 3 in City Event and 2 in parallel. The next ones will probably not be long.