Mikaela Shiffrin ended a record-setting season with two more.
Shiffrin won the World Cup Finals giant slalom on the final day of the campaign, breaking her ties for most women’s giant slalom wins and most podiums in all women’s World Cup races.
Shiffrin claimed his record 88th career World Cup victory, winning by six hundredths over Thea Louise Stjernesund from Norway combining times from two races in Andorra on Sunday.
ALPINE SKI WORLD CUP: Complete Results
She won her 21st career giant slalom race, tie-breaking as the all-time women’s World Cup champion with Vreni Schneidera Swiss star of the 1980s and 1990s.
She achieved her 138th World Cup podium in all events, breaking her tie for the most all-time in the Women’s World Cup with Lindsey Vonn. Shiffrin took her 138th podium from her 249th start, meaning she has finished in the top three in 55% of her World Cup races since her debut as a 15-year-old in 2011.
Earlier this season, Shiffrin passed Vonn and Ingemar Stenmark, a Swede of the 1970s and 1980s, for the most World Cup wins in alpine skiing. She won 14 times from November to March, her second best season after her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign.
In these intervening years, Shiffrin endured the toughest times of her life, was supplanted as the best slalom skier in the world, and questioned her skiing like never before.
On Saturday afternoon, Shiffrin was asked what made the difference this fall and winter. There were several factors. She detailed an important one.
“I had a lot of memory problems,” she said at a press conference. “Not so much this season, but last season and the season before. I couldn’t remember the courses. And when I was kind of going through that, I couldn’t keep up the mental energy for the second races.
Pre-race inspection of the course and the ability to retain that knowledge for a one-minute run over an hour afterward are essential to success in ski racing. Shiffrin is so meticulous and methodical in her training, historically prioritizing it over racing in her junior days, that the inspection seems to fit her world-wide preparation.
She didn’t understand how she’d lost that skill until she started working with a new sports psychologist last summer.
“That was a little less focused on sport psychology and more focused on psychological psychology and a little more grief counseling style,” she said. “Explaining what was really going on in my brain, like chemical changes in the brain from trauma. Not just grief, but actually the traumatic experience itself of knowing what happened to my father, seeing him in the hospital, touching him after he died. These are things you can’t get out of your head. It had an impact. Clearly, it still does.”
Shiffrin had an “awkward a-ha moment” after his first course inspection of the season in November in Finland.
“It didn’t take me that long to inspect and I remembered the whole route,” she said. “Oh my God, I was coming off a cloud I had been on for over two years.”
What followed was a win, of course, and a season that came close to Shiffrin’s unrivaled 2018-19. Fourteen wins from 31 World Cup starts, his busiest season ever, clinching the overall, slalom and GS season titles in races.
“After last season, I didn’t feel like I could get to a level with my skiing again where I would really go for the slalom globe,” she said. “And GS, actually, I had a little bit more hope, but at the beginning of the season, I kind of counted myself out.
“I feel that my highest level of skiing has been higher than in previous seasons, perhaps higher than my entire career. My average ski level was also higher than in previous seasons, and my lowest ski level was also higher.”
There are other reasons for the dominance’s rebirth, though Shiffrin was also the best skier in the world last season (Olympics aside). She struggled Saturday afternoon to credit her coach for seven years, Mike’s daywho left the team during the world championships after being informed that he would not be signed for the next season.
“He’s been part of the success of this entire season like he always has,” said Shiffrin, who parted ways with Day to bring on board Karin Harjothe first woman to be her head coach as a professional.
Shiffrin’s biggest success this season began around the time she watched a mid-December cable car interview between a retired skier from Liechtenstein Tina Weirather it’s Italian Sofia Goggia, the best downhiller in the world. Goggia spoke about his disdain for mediocrity.
“Since then, pretty much every time I put my skis on, I’m like, ‘OK, don’t be mediocre today,’” Shiffrin said in January.
During the highest peaks of this season, Shiffrin felt like he did in 2018-19.
“It’s mind-boggling for me to be in a position again where I could feel that kind of momentum during a season, because after that [2018-19] season, I thought, this is never going to happen again, and my best days of my career are really behind me, which was kind of sad to feel that at this point four years ago,” said Shiffrin, who turned 28 years old last week. . “This season, if anything, just proved it, take 17 wins [from 2018-19] aside or the records or all of those things, you can still feel that kind of momentum.”
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Mikaela Shiffrin ends the World Cup with another victory, two more records and a revelation originally published on NBCSports.com