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"In the starting gate" - Mikaela's early years
Born in Vail, Colarado, Mikaela Shiffrin started learning to ski at the age of 2. Her parents, Eileen and Jeff Shiffrin, have supported her all the time. As a junior, Mikaela raced much less than other kids her age.
They went to races and had a couple of runs, maybe minutes of actual skiing time. While the other young skiers were racing, Mikaela was training at Burke Mountain Academy in Vermont to "master" her sport.
Shiffrin’s meteoric rise up the ranks in alpine racing began as soon as she was old enough to compete in FIS races. On December 14, 2010, while meeting the minimum age of 15 requirement, Shiffrin won a
Nor-Am Cup super-combined race held at Panorama, British Columbia.
It was only the eighth FIS-level race she’d ever competed in.
She followed it up by taking a 2nd, 3rd and 1st place finish in her next three Nor-Am races, a super g, a giant slalom and a slalom.
A couple of weeks later she won a pair of Nor-Am slalom races held at Sunday River, Maine. A month later she captured glory on the international stage by taking a slalom bronze medal at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships held at Crans Montana, Switzerland.
"Wunderkind" - Season 2011/2012 and 2012/2013
Shiffrin made her World Cup debut on March 11, 2011 in a giant slalom at Spindleruv Mlyn in the Czech Republic. In early April, just a few weeks after her 16th birthday, she won the slalom title at the U.S. National Championships at Winter Park, Colorado, and became the youngest American skier ever to claim a national alpine crown.
On December 29, 2011, Shiffrin made her first World Cup podium at a slalom in Lienz, Austria. She started 40th and lost her left shin guard halfway down but finished in 12th place in the first run. Shiffrin then posted the fastest time in the second run to secure a third place finish.
Shiffrin won her first World Cup race in December 2012 at the age of 17, a night slalom in Are, Sweden. She became the second-youngest American ever to win an alpine World Cup event. Shiffrin's second win came two weeks later at a night slalom at Zagreb, Croatia and her third 11 days later at another night slalom in Flachau, Austria.
She competed in her first World Champs in 2013 at Schladming, Austria, and finished sixth in the giant slalom, her best result to date in that discipline. Two days later in slalom, she finished 3rd in the first run and casted an eye on a medal. The second run was hers, she had the fastest time an sensationally became world champion and gold medalist at the age of 17 - the youngest champion for 39 years.
At the World Cup finals in Lenzerheide, 3 days after she turned 18, Mikaela batteled with Tina Maze for the season title in slalom. After falling more than 1.2 seconds behind Maze in the first run, Mikaela had an unbelievable second run. She caught up 1,4 seconds in the lower part. Maze wasn't able to keep up and when she crossed the finish line, Mikaela won the crystal globe in slalom and was overcome by emotions.
"Olympic Dream" - Season 2013/2014
The World Cup season 13/14 started, as every year, with a GS opener in Soelden, Austria. One of Mikaela's goals was to improve her giant slalom. She finished 6th on the Rettenbach glacier, where 25.000 ski fans were on the spot to kick off the new season. Her first slalom win in 13/14 followed 3 weeks later in Levi, Finland. Mikaela was in a league of her own, won the race by over a second and recieved a reindeer.
A special race for Mikaela was next: World Cup continued in Beaver Creek, USA. She gained the first GS podium of her career by placing second on home turf. A lot of family members and friends came to cheer her on. After returning to Europe, things weren't running perfect. Mikaela had the only DNF of her season in St. Moritz, followed by a 12th place finish in Courchevel and an 8th place in Val-d-Isère.
Just before the end of 2013, Mikaela secured a double podium in Lienz. She placed third in GS and second in Slalom, right behind her role model Marlies Schield, who set a new all-time record by winning 35 slalom races. The conditions for ski racers got more and more difficult because of the warm winter, multiple races were cancelled. But Mikaela was on fire and took home her next slalom wins at Bormio and Flachau.
In February, all eyes were on Sochi where the 2014 Winter Olympic Games were held. Mikaela placed 5th in her Olympic debut, a rainy giant slalom in Rosa Chutor. She had also casted an eye on the medals in GS, beeing off the podium by only 0.23 seconds. On February 21, 2014,
she won the Olympic slalom after an unbelievable recovery in the second run and became the youngest ever Olympic gold medalist in slalom. It was skiing history and the emotional highlight of the season.
With the approaching end of the season and after the Olympic highlight, Mikaela won another slalom held in Are, Sweden. Only one race was left, she locked up the World Cup slalom title by increasing her lead over 100 points. It was her day again at the World Cup Finals in Lenzerheide. Mikaela won the last slalom by over 1.5 seconds, her fifth win of the year. She recieved the slalom globe for the 2nd time in a row.
Mikaela set up new records, it had been an awesome season.
"Hometown Hero" - Season 2014/2015
On October 25, the 2014/2015 World Cup season started with a bang at Sölden: Mikaela won her first giant slalom tied with the Austrian Anna Fenninger in front of 30.000 ski racing fans. Mikaela had to wait two more months to achieve her next podium finish because she wasn't satisfied with her skiing. After testing new skis with Atomic and adjusting her setup, the "old Mikaela" was back, taking a third place in GS and a first place in SL at Kühtai, Austria right after Christmas.
In January, Mikaela won the World Cup slalom at Zagreb by a massive margin of 1.68 seconds. The next race coming up was a slalom at Flachau, one of her favorite races. She placed third behind Frida Hansdotter and Tina Maze. Afterwards, Team Mikaela traveled back home to the US, having almost one month of time to prepare for big highlight of 2015, the World Ski Championships at Vail-Beaver Creek.
The first race of the Ski World Champs was the Team Event, Mikaela and Team USA finished fifth. The World Champs giant slalom was next. Mikaela wanted to go for a medal, coming up with a disappointing 8th place. In slalom, she showed to world again that she is the one to beat. Being in the lead after the first run, it was a thriller finish versus Frida Hansdotter in the second run. Mikaela won her second World Champs gold medal by -0.34 seconds in front of her hometown fans, what a day!
With a World Champs gold medal in her bag, Mikaela was on fire at the end of the season 2014/2015. She gained her World Cup wins number 13 and 14 at Maribor and Are. At Are, she met a very special fan. Emma, a young girl from Sweden, was in the finish area again. Mikaela had met her when she won her first World Cup race at Are in December 2012. Emma fought against leukemia and inspired Mikaela a lot.
This year, they were both up on the podium together.
Going into the World Cup Finals at Méribel, Mikaela had a 90-point lead in slalom, second placed was Frida Hansdotter. It was a big fight till the end, Frida Hansdotter placed second and Mikaela secured her 3rd Crystal Globe in a row at age 20 win another win - this has never been done before. It was once again and amazing season with lots of highlights, we can't wait for many more to follow.
"The Return" - Season 2015/2016
The World Cup season 2015/2016 should become the most difficult season for Mikaela so far. The first season without a World Champ or Olympic race since 2012 started with a strong Mikaela at Sölden on October 24. She grabbed an impressive second place at the season opener behind Italian's Federica Brignone. It was the start every racer is looking for. The next World Cup race, a slalom at Levi, Finland and the most northerly race got canceled due to warm weather.
Mikaela took the opportunity and went home to Vail, Colorado as the next races to follow were set in Aspen. Her plan was to add more and more speed events to gain experience and become a possible contender for the overall globe in the future. In Aspen, she crashed out of the giant slalom at the last gate, being in the lead at the split time. It was a hard defeat on home soil, but Mikaela got her head up and won both slaloms at Aspen by unbelievable margins of 2.6 and 3.1 seconds.
Her World Cup debut in Super G took place at Lake Louise, Canada on December 6, where she took home a solid 15th place. The World Cup tour went back to Europe. While warming up for a giant slalom at Are, Sweden Mikaela crashed into the net and injured her right knee. She suffered a MCL tear and a bone-bruise, what took her out of racing for 9 weeks. It was a hard time for her cause she never injured herself badly and had to stop racing for a longer period so far.
Mikaela's comeback was outstanding. After being out of the tour for more than 2 months, she came back at Crans Montana on February 15, 2016 with an impressive win. She continued dominating and won the following 2 slalom races at Jasna, Slovenia and St. Moritz, Suisse. Although she missed half of the slalom races, she nearly had the chance to win the globe again. It was a difficult season, but Mikala ended the 2015/2016 season by winning 2 national titles at Sun Valley, Idaho.
"A childhood dream" - Season 2016/2017
Mikaela set herself high goals when going into the World Cup season 2016/2017 - including the Ski World Championships 2017 at St. Moritz, Switzerland - and she should become the best ski racer in the world in 16/17. She started the season with a 2nd place finish at the traditional Sölden giant slalom World Cup opener followed by 2 dominant slalom wins at Levi and Killington. A pretty strong start into the new year.
In December 2017, Mikaela made her World Cup debut in downhill at Lake Louise, Canada and impressed with 13th and 18th place finishes. She was now able to make some points in the speed events, which should help her to get a shot on the Overall. From December 27 to 29, Mikaela managed to win 3 races on 3 days at Semmering, a historical triple! She could extend her lead in the Overall standings on Lara Gut.
On January 3rd 2017, Mikaela's sensational slalom streak (7 in a row, only topped by Janica Kostelic and Vren Schneider with 8 wins) ended in Zagreb with a DNF result. Mikaela continued her season with good results at Maribor (4th and 1st), Flachau (3rd) and Kronplatz (5th). When racing Super G at Cortina d'Ampezzo on January 29, she took home an impressive 4th place. All was for the Ski World Champs at St. Moritz.
The Ski World Champs at St. Moritz, Switzerland took place from February 6 to 19. Miki was ready to go for the medals in her 2 favourite disciplines, giant slalom and slalom. On February 16, Mikaela won giant slalom silver behind Tessa Worley. 2 days later, she wrote skiing history by winning her 3 World Champs gold medal in a row. This had only been done once before by Christl Cranz - 78 years ago!
Pushed by emotional moments in St. Moritz, Mikaela continued her strong season by winning 3 more races at Crans Montana, where she gained her first World Cup win in alpine combined, followed by 2 great home wins at Squaw Valley. Mikaela's chance to win the Overall globe where good looking going into the World Cup Finals at Aspen, Colorado. She got 2nd and 6th place finishes in the last 2 races of the season.
In 16/17, Mikaela Shiffrin won her 4th slalom World Cup crystal globe and her 3rd World Champs slalom gold in a row at St. Moritz. But what topped everything was when Mikaela realized that she had won the FIS Alpine World Cup Overall title for the first time at her young age of 22, became the best ski racer in the world in 16/17 and made her biggest childhood dream become reality. What a moment - hats off Mikaela!
"Stargazing" - Season 2017/2018
Mikaela's goal for 17/18 was set by trying to defend the Overall title.
She started the season with a 5th place in Sölden, the first win of 17/18 followed at her home slalom in Killington. She added more and more speed events to her schedule, won the Lake Louise downhill followed by more wins at Courchevel, Lienz and Oslo. The season was very impressive so far, Mikaela took another speed weekend at Cortina, Italy.
At the last speed event at Cortina, a Super G, Mikaela couldn't end the race. 2 more DNF results at Kronplatz, Italy and Lenzerheide, Switzerland followed. Things weren't going Mikaela's way and she seemed exhausted. She took a break to prepare in the best possible way for the upcoming Winter Olympics Games at Pyeongchang, Sout Korea.
Going into her 2nd Winter Olympic Games, the strogs winds at Pyeongchang challenged the racers, the events were postponed multiple times. The Olympics were surely the most emotional time of the season. Mikaela won Olympic gold in GS and silver in Alpine Combined, but couldn't defeat her gold medal in slalom. Afterwards, Mikaela was sure the 4th place in slalom was one of her most important moments, because she was able to learn something for the future.
Mikaela won 2 of the 3 races after the Olympics: The season was almost over, she scored a 3rd and 1st place finish at Ofterschwang, Germany.
Adding another slalom win at the World Cup Finals in Are, Sweden,
she managed to win the slalom globe for the 5th time and defend her Overall title at age 23. She scored 18 podiums and 12 wins in 17/18, making it a truly remarkable season with 2 Olympic medals.
"One for the history books" - Season 2018/2019
The next season should become one of the best seasons the alpine skiing community had ever seen. Mikaela started the year with a 3rd place finish at Sölden followed by a slalom win at Levi. At her home races in Killington, USA, she grabbed a 4th and 1st place in giant slalom and slalom. The speed races at Lake Louise were next, Mikaela was in perfect shape, ready to break some records of the FIS Alpine tour.
She managed to win the Lake Louise Super G, becoming the first athlete to win in all 6 World Cup events. Mikaela won the next 4 races at St. Moritz and Courchevel. It was a tough battle with Petra Vlhova from Slovakia, but she could add 6 more wins at to her list sensationally before taking a break, skipping some speed races and heading into the 2019 World Ski Championships held at Are, Sweden.
Mikaela thought about racing 4 or even 5 events at the World Champs, but she wanted to stay in shape for the tech races held at the end.
She won an amazing Super G gold to kick of the races, bronze in Giant Slalom and wrote skiing history once again by winning the 4th slalom World Champs gold medal in a row - a new all time record.
In 6 races after the World Champs, Mikaela ended up beeing on the podium 5 times within 4 wins. In 2018/2019, Mikaela set the record for most World Cup wins in a single from 14 to an insane number of 17.
She became the most succesfull slalom skier of all time by winning her 40th slalom and surpassing her childhood idol Marlies Schild.
Mikaela scored the 2nd best season of all time based on points (2204).
With all those records and inspiring moments, Mikaela won the Overall globe for the 3rd time, the slalom globe for the 6th time and she managed to win her first World Cup globes in Super G and giant slalom. It has been an absolutely stunning season and sometimes we just can't believe what this ski racer is doing, it leaves you speechless. Thank you Mikaela for an amazing season, just keep doing what you are doing!