Shiffrin edges Gut-Behrami in giant slalom for career win 79, three shy of Vonn’s record

Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates winning the Women’s World Cup Giant Slalom in Semmering, Austria on Wednesday 28 December 2022. It was her 79th World Cup win.
Piermarco Tacca/AP

SEMMERING, Austria — Everyone in ski racing seems to be counting Mikaela Shiffrin’s World Cup wins. Except Mikaela Shiffrin herself.

The four-time overall champion claimed her 79th career win on Wednesday after winning a fierce duel with Swiss rival Lara Gat Behrami in the giant slalom.

Shiffrin also won Tuesday’s GS at the same course, her current three World Cup wins falling short of the women’s record held by Lindsay Vonn.

“What do you mean by 79 wins? I can’t answer that question,” said the American. “Because 12 years or he had 13 years of racing and good races and bad races and ups and downs. Those three years were really hard for him.”

For Shiffrin, her entire World Cup career, which began in 2011, cannot be properly summed up by 79 wins, or any number.

“It means a lot. But today, let me just say it’s only 1, not 79. I’m really happy,” she said.

Shiffrin could even be one step closer to Vonn’s best record by the end of 2022 as the three-day series at Semmering concludes with a night slalom on Thursday. She won all three events in December 2016 when her three consecutive days of racing took place at a resort near the capital city of Vienna.

On Wednesday, Shiffrin held a 0.22 second lead over leader Gut Behrami after the first leg, but the pair swapped places after both made mistakes in a thrilling final run.

“It was tough. It was dark and there were some really big bumps, so I tried to push,” Shiffrin said.

GS ranking leader Marta Bassino was 0.47 behind in third, followed by Italian team-mate Federica Brignone in fourth.

It was Shiffrin’s 16th GS win and tied for second on the all-time winners list alongside Annemarie Moser Prell and Tessa Worley. Only Vrenni Schneider has 20 wins in giant slalom.

The win extended Shiffrin’s lead in the overall standings to 305 points over Sofia Goggia. The Italian speed specialist is not competing at Semmering.

Shiffrin and Gat Behrami set up a duel by building a large lead over the rest of the field on the opening run when the Swiss skiers looked perfect on the icy panorama course.

With the gates set in a nondescript straight line, Gut-Behrami and Shiffrin completed the course in less than a minute, about five seconds faster than Tuesday.

Shiffrin led Gutbehrami’s time throughout the run, but was unable to match the Swiss skier’s pace in the flat-bottom section.

“It’s a very straight course, a very fast course, with bumps,” said Shiffrin. “It’s a bit difficult to ski with few turns, so I’m really happy that I did well.”

None of the racers had a clean run on the turn-heavy second leg. Gutbeerami, who started last as the first run leader, lost his advantage over Shiffrin in the first split time, but gained time again in a section where his rivals struggled.

The fastest second run was recorded by Valérie Grenier, who improved from 12th to 5th after the opening run. This meant redemption for the Canadian skier, who set his fourth-fastest time on his run at the opening of Tuesday’s race.

Shiffrin’s American teammate Paula Moltzan finished in 9th place, her third GS top 10 finish of the season.

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