NOV 25, 2019
1.78 seconds ahead! Mikaela Shiffrin says all chattily: „First run I felt solid, second run I felt solid, but I was pushing harder… and I had a little bit of luck.” Modest and approachable – that’s how Mikaela chats about her win in Levi, a victory for the history books – her 41st. No man, no woman has ever won that many World Cup slaloms before. Her performance on the race course is one thing, her personality another – Redster superstar Mikaela is a shining light here and there.
Season opener in Levi: it’s ladies first. Without a doubt, she is the number one in every aspect. With her victory Mikaela Shiffrin has set a new world record: 41 World Cup slalom victories; that is more than Stenmark and all the other big names in ski racing history have achieved. Mikaela, Atomic athlete of records, is 24, goes into her eighth full winter in the World Cup and has won everything there is to win: a genius on snow, calm and cool in real life. “I was more relaxed than I’ve ever been at the start of the season,” she chats about her historic win on Facebook. Approachable and modest like no other star. Making one feel as if you were having a cappuccino with her – while getting a glimpse of this extraordinary athlete’s mindset first-hand.
Staying exceptionally calm and cool – a new phenomen on Mikaela also observed by Atomic Race Manager Christian Höflehner: “Early on in Sölden and now in Levi: She’s grown even more relaxed.” Mikaela says: “Nobody asked me about the world record. That made it easier for me not to think about it, but to just focus on the skiing.” Every year, the winners in Levi are given a reindeer as “prize money” – Mikaela has found an appropriate name for her newest addition to her herd: Ingemar. It’s her fourth, so with her slalom victory world record she now owns the biggest herd of reindeers among all World Cup athletes.
COMEBACK WITH GREAT SPEED
Mikaela Shiffrin isn’t the only one making Race Manager Christian Höflehner happy in Levi. Katharina Gallhuber returned with a 15th place, while Marco Schwarz showed strong speed in some parts of the race. “The only thing that’s missing is the confidence, the same goes for Manuel Feller. Filip Zubcic’s 16th place with bib number 70 and his third fastest time in the second run was really sensational. Istok Rodes, Manuel Feller, Elias Kollega, Marc Digruber – they all performed on a similar level – that is a good benchmark, because they all know now what to work on.”
The technical race ladies have their next stop in Killington (USA). The men’s speed season traditionally kicks off in Lake Louise (CAN) this coming weekend.