MAR 08, 2021
She has been and will remain ski racing’s brightest figure: Mikaela Shiffrin’s win in Jasna marked her 45th career slalom victory. Since 2012, the superstar on the Atomic team has been the measure of all things in her favorite discipline and a role model for a whole generation of athletes. Her competitors have caught up, no doubt about it. Yet Mikaela apparently still has that unique speed that lets her win a race like in Jasna as she likes – and within just a few gates. Coming back this winter after the hardest time of her life she gradually reconnected with the best version of herself. With three more Slaloms to come and 45 points to catch up Mikaela is sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats: will she grab the slalom globe on this season’s home stretch?
Mikaela Shiffrin’s extraordinary World Cup career kicked off in Are in 2012 with her first victory in Slalom. Since then, she has prevailed at Are, taking the win home four more times in the World Cup and snagging two gold medals and one bronze at the World Championships in 2019. Returning to this place full of good memories next weekend Mikaela can take a big step towards her seventh Slalom globe. She also has a chance of celebrating her 26th birthday on March 13 as a new record holder – her latest triumph in Jasna marked her 45th career Slalom victory, one shy of the record for most World Cup wins in a specific discipline: 46 by Ingemar Stenmark in Giant Slalom. So if Mikaela won both Are Slaloms, she would take home World Cup victories no. 70 and 71 – equaling a new world record, plus, most likely, also crystal globe no. 11 of her unparalleled career – an awesome birthday present.
“In the past almost ten years Mikaela has been elevating the level of Slalom racing with her performance. It has been easier for others to catch up than for herself to stay on top, especially this past year, the most difficult of her life. But now every race shows: Mikaela has found the connection to the best version of herself again – athletically, technically and mentally”, Christian Höflehner, Global Race Manager at Atomic, analyzes. He adds: "That inspires a whole generation of young athletes such as Maryna Gasienica-Daniel in our team, who has had a great season after a cruciate ligament rupture and really challenged the established top athletes for the first time in the first run of the Jasna GS."
THE NEXT GENERATION ON THE MEN’S SPEED TEAM
The next gen speed racers’ strong performances at Saalbach also provided plenty of reasons to be happy, especially since the Redster team’s top stars are unfortunately out of action in Downhill and Super-G. Höflehner: “Of course it’s a pity knowing how strongly our three injured speed stars Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Mauro Caviezel, and Adrian Smiseth Sejersted skied back in January – but that's part of game. However, racers like Daniel Danklmaier, Niels Hintermann, Felix Monsen, Jeffrey Read, plus World Champs silver medalist Andreas Sander in the Super-G delivered good results at Saalbach, and we need to put these performances into perspective for the upcoming season. We have a very strong speed team."
Prior to the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide, the men head to Kranjska Gora for a Slalom and a GS, while Are will host a double Slalom for the women.