Ingemar Stenmark’s record will have to wait.
Mikaela Shiffrin was second in her first attempt at tying the Swedish legend’s all-gender mark of 86 World Cup victories Sunday, finishing just 0.06 seconds behind Germany’s Lena Duerr in a slalom in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic.
As she has so often this season, the American had a significant lead after the first run. But Duerr has been particularly tough on this course – she was second to Shiffrin in Saturday’s slalom – and skied a near-perfect second run. Shiffrin did not, losing speed on the bottom half of the chewed-up course and finishing the equivalent of millimeters behind Duerr.
Shiffrin didn’t look upset as she crossed the finish line and saw the standings. She’d said after Saturday’s win that she didn’t know if she could match Stenmark this weekend because of how fierce the competition was.
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“I’m not worried about it,” she’d said. “There’s a lot of athletes out here who can win the race, so I’m going to enjoy the competition for what it is and I’m going to do my best.”
What’s next for Mikaela Shiffrin?
The World Cup circuit takes a break for the world championships, which are Feb. 6-19 in France. Those don’t count as World Cup races, and Shiffrin plans to skip the first races when it resumes.
That means her first chance to surpass Stenmark would come March 3-5, with two super-Gs and a downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway. But her best chance is likely to be in the Swedish legend’s home country, with giant slalom and slalom races in Are on March 10 and 11.
Of Shiffrin’s 85 World Cup wins, 52 are in slalom and 19 are in giant slalom.
Where Mikaela Shiffrin ranks
Shiffrin did clinch the season title for slalom with her second-place finish Sunday. That is her seventh, for those keeping score.
Shiffrin has also all but wrapped up her fourth overall title, which would bring her within one of the women’s record, set in the 1970s by Annemarie Moser-Proell. Shiffrin leads Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova by more than 700 points.
Shiffrin also leads the giant slalom standings after winning twice last week.
Mikaela Shiffrin’s pace
Making Shiffrin’s record chase even more impressive is the pace with which she’s done it. It has taken her 10 years and a little over one month to get to 85 World Cup wins, while it took Stenmark more than 12 years.
She does not turn 28 until March 13. Stenmark was 32 when he won his last World Cup race while fellow American Lindsey Vonn, who previously held the mark for most wins by a woman, was 33.