Winter Sports

‘Unbelievable’ Shiffrin re-writes record books to become the greatest

It is official, Mikaela Shiffrin is the greatest Alpine skier of all time.

She is also undoubtedly one of the most dominant athletes in sport right now.

At the age of just 27 and 12 years to the day after her first Audi FIS World Cup race, the American stormed to her 87th victory. In a further piece of perfect symmetry, the win that took her past the great Ingemar Stenmark’s long-standing mark, came in the home of Swedish skiing, Are, where she won her first ever World Cup race back in 2012. 

She did it in magnificent style too, dominating both slalom runs to take her second win in two days, this one by a vast margin of 0.92 seconds. The two skiers to get closest to the new record holder had just one word for Shiffrin’s quite remarkable career to date.

“Crazy,” laughed both second place Wendy Holdener and hometown hero Anna Swenn Larsson.

Stenmark himself recently gave the FIS his assessment of why Shiffrin is in a class of her own.

“She is a complete skier. She has a good technique, but it’s not only that. She has physical strength, she has a strong head – those things combined make her so good,” said the Swede who won his 86th race at the age of 32, back in 1989.

“And she’s smart too. She doesn’t have to race at 100% speed. She knows that the others have to go beyond their ability (to beat her) and that they will make some mistakes.”

Mistakes from her rivals or not, Shiffrin looked utterly untouchable in Are. Smooth and confident in the morning’s first run, she defied the nerves she claims to always feel in the second, to get into her free-flowing style almost from the gate.

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