Young American Mikaela Shiffrin Caps Extraordinary Season With Slalom Title
If you didn't hear the name Mikaela Shiffrin during the past year, you were most likely buried under a rock, because the American teenager was all the rage in the world of alpine skiing. The freshly turned 18-year-old Colorado native capped an unbelievable year with a season title in the slalom discipline as a result of her World Cup victory in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Tina Maze of Slovenia has been Shiffrin's competition throughout the season and that was no different this weekend in Switzerland. Having already racked up the overall World Cup title, along with season globes in the super-G and giant slalom disciplines, Maze looked to add to her season dominance by taking the slalom season title as well. Young Shiffrin however, had other plans.
Shiffrin got off to a less than desirable start, trailing the leader by a large margin of 1.17 seconds. In true Shiffrin fashion, she pulled out another seemingly unimaginable second run, overtaking Maze for the event win and consequently securing the season title as well. Shiffrin acknowledged Maze in her post race thoughts.
"I think that half of this globe belongs to someone else," Shiffrin said about the Slovenian. "I want to thank Tina Maze. She has really helped inspire me. It felt good that second run but I was freaking out."
Earning the slalom globe is an astonishing accomplishment for Shiffrin and American alpine skiing. Having just celebrated her 18th birthday earlier in the month, Shiffrin became the first U.S. slalom World Cup champion since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84 and the fourth youngest woman to win season title.
"Winning the slalom title was my goal from the beginning of this year, " Shiffrin said. "The World Championships title was amazing, but it wasn't a goal that I had set. I almost forgot World Championships were happening this year until they happened and that was just a cherry on top of the cake. This was what I was really shooting for all season, to be consistently one of the top slalom skiers. So this means a lot to me."
Amazing stories like Shiffrin's don't come without perks. The youngster will appear on the David Letterman show, tonight (Tuesday, March 19). You can catch the US Ski Team star tonight on CBS at 11:35/10:35pm Central Time.
"Yeah, Letterman, I am so excited about that," said Shiffrin. "I hope I don't trip when I'm going up on stage."
Good luck Mikaela!