Shiffrin shocks Worlds, wins slalom gold over Austrian idol Schild

Eagle-Vail racer third youngest slalom world champion ever

By Real Vail
Real AspenFebruary 16, 2013
Eagle-Vail’s Mikaela Shiffrin was five years old when Austrian slalom great Marlies Schild first started racing on the World Cup circuit. On Saturday, Shiffrin topped her childhood idol on the slalom legend’s home snow in Schladming, Austria, to win a slalom world championship.

Shiffrin became the third youngest slalom world champion and is the youngest world champion in any discipline since American Diane Roffe-Steinrotter won the giant slalom world championship in 1985.

“I thought, 'I hope it holds.'” Shiffrin said of her second run. “I was thinking so many things. It was one of those times when everything was a blur, and that's when you know it's good. I've been taking it day by day and right now I'm just taking it second by second.”

Eagle-Vail's Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her world championship in slalom on Saturday in Schladming, Austria (Getty Images/AFP Samuel Kuban).

First-run leader Frida Hansdotter, of Sweden, wound up with bronze. Austria's Mikaela Kirchgasser took silver in front of sold-out partisan crowd of 30,000 screaming Austrian fans. NBC will air coverage nationally at 1 p.m. MT on Saturday.

Shiffrin won on Saturday with a two-run time of 1 minute, 39.85 seconds, edging Kirchgasser by a scant .22 seconds.

But the rising American superstar, who attended Burke Mountain Academy, topped Schild – the defending world slalom from Garmisch in 2011 -- by more than a second and a half.

Schild, coming off a knee injury suffered in Shiffrin’s first World Cup win in December, wasn’t even expected to be back for these championships on home snow but made a remarkable comeback. She wound up a respectable ninth on Saturday.

Schild has amassed 35 World Cup victories (seventh on the all-time list) and 33 in slalom. She’s just one regular-season slalom win away from the all-time women’s record of 34 set by Swiss legend Vreni Schneider.

Shiffrin this week told the Associated Press that she looks up to Schild with great admiration and respect.

“I'm really excited to have Marlies back racing," Shiffrin told the AP. “She's always been an inspiration to me.”

The United States now leads the medal count at Schladming with four golds at these World Championships – one from Shiffrin and three from Ted Ligety, of Park City, Utah, who claimed the GS gold on Friday. Squaw Valley’s Julia Mancuso won bronze in the opening super-G in which Vail’s Lindsey Vonn was injured and knocked out of competition for the remainder of the season.

Ligety on Friday became the first man since French legend Jean-Claude Killy in 1968 to win as many as three gold medals in one World Championships. Ligety also won the super-G and super combined events. Killy won four golds in 1968.

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