Standing strong above the veteran-laden ranks of the women’s US Alpine Ski Team is eighteen-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin.
Shiffrin, who is fifth in the overall FIS Alpine World Cup standings, bolstered her standing among the world’s best with a convincing win in the FIS slalom race in Bormio, Italy today.
Despite a wintry mix of rainy and snowy conditions, Shiffrin maintained her composure in this two-run event with a 2:00.41 clocking – compliments of besting the field in her first run. Sweden’s Maria Pietilae-Holmner (2:00.54) and France’s Nastia Noens (2:01.03) rounded-out the podium. No other American teammate made the cut for the 26-athlete final run.
"It's always a big confidence booster to have good skiing in different conditions," Shiffrin said. "I never wanted to be a racer who could only win on hard snow or just soft snow, or just a steep pitch or just a flat. I want to be really good in all-around conditions and getting a win today has given me a lot of confidence."
Shiffrin is taking the FIS alpine world by storm. This victory matches another win in a November slalom race, and marks the fifth time she has graced the podium this season in either the slalom or giant slalom events
This technical skier leads the FIS slalom standings, and is sixth within the giant slalom ranks. Veteran Olympians Julia Mancuso and Resi Steigler, who have remained healthy this season, are deep within the overall standings with rankings of 32 and 78, respectively. The injured Lindsey Vonn is nestled in an uncharacteristic 46th spot.
Given the state of the women’s squad this season, Shiffrin is America’s only true hope for an alpine medal at the Sochi Olympics.
"I was really psyched to win again," said Shiffrin. "It's been a fight all season and I feel like, if I'm not perfectly ready, then the win goes to somebody else.”