Saturday 21 November 2020
Ski star Mikaela Shiffrin is back in good shape on her comeback after 300 days, but just misses her 67th World Cup victory. At the first slalom of the season in Levi, Finland, the American only has to admit defeat to her long-term rival Petra Vlhova.
After the toughest ten months of her life, Mikaela Shiffrin wasn’t missing much for the big comeback coup. The exceptional American ski racer raced to second place in Levi’s slalom and only had to admit defeat to her Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova. On a highly emotional day in Lapland, however, Shiffrin showed that she is one of the favorites again this winter. “I’m happy,” said the 25-year-old, “that was really fun.” In the interview, Shiffrin came tears of joy and relief behind the corona mask.
In the gate run, which three German drivers did not finish in the top 15, but at least finished in the points, Shiffrin indicated that she hadn’t forgotten much in the 300 days since her last World Cup. “I’m happy with the feeling on the ski,” she said. The five-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion had extremely difficult months behind her. Her father Jeff died in early February, so Shiffrin skipped several races. Then the pandemic hit the world. And she missed the start of the season in Sölden because of a back injury.
“Not yet shown what it can do”
While her Slovak rival Vlhova trained on site in Levi for three weeks, Shiffrin prepared in her native Colorado and only arrived this week. “I’m so tired, I could only sleep,” she said on Thursday. The emotionally intense months were still evident in Shiffrin’s first race, it was less explosive than usual. ARD expert Felix Neureuther said: “Shiffrin still has an incredible amount of potential. She hasn’t shown what she can do for a long time. We can each other really look forward to the upcoming races. ” Katharina Liensberger from Austria came in third (+0.57).
On Sunday (10.15 a.m. and 1.15 p.m. / ARD and Eurosport) there will be the second slalom and the second duel between Shiffrin and Vlhova. The Slovak celebrated the fourth slalom success in a row and her 15th victory in the World Cup. “I took advantage of my advantage,” she said. The best German was Lena Dürr in 17th place, she failed especially on the steep slope. “That annoys me brutally,” said the woman from Munich and announced before Sunday: “It has to be more brutal and aggressive.” Andrea Filser finished 23rd, collecting points in the World Cup for the first time, Marina Wallner came in 24th. “We still have a lot of room forwards,” summed up women’s national coach Jürgen Graller.