Mikaela Shiffrin breaks Lindsey Vonn's World Cup skiing record

Mikaela Shiffrin breaks Lindsey Vonn’s World Cup skiing record


Mikaela Shiffrin moved past Lindsey Vonn on Tuesday, with one American skiing legend eclipsing another by winning the 83rd World Cup race of her unprecedented career, setting a record for women’s Alpine racers and taking another step toward the all-time mark for a skier of any gender.

Shiffrin won a giant slalom race in the Italian resort of Kronplatz, beating runner-up Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland by 0.45 seconds for her ninth victory of the season. Her total is now one more than Vonn, the icon who preceded Shiffrin as the most dominating racer of all-time.

Shiffrin, 27, led Gut-Behrami by 0.13 seconds after Tuesday’s first run, then extended her lead on her second trip.

“It might take me a little bit to figure out what to say,” Shiffrin said just afterward, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t know what to say right now.”

From November: Nearing history, Mikaela Shiffrin is still pursuing perfection

Now, she will immediately have a chance to increase her total. Another giant slalom is scheduled for Wednesday in Kronplatz, and there are two slalom races this weekend in the Czech Republic. Though she has amassed her total by winning across all of Alpine skiing’s disciplines, Tuesday was Shiffrin’s 18th victory in giant slalom, and she has a record 51 wins in slalom.

The next benchmark for Shiffrin? The 86 World Cup victories of Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark, who holds the record for most wins by a skier of any gender. With seven more technical races—slaloms and giant slaloms, Shiffrin’s strength—on the schedule, it’s conceivable she would threaten the record this season. She has won eight of the 14 World Cup slaloms and giant slaloms contested thus far in 2022-23.

But there is also the matter, if and when she passes Stenmark, of how far she can push the new mark. Stenmark himself said in a recent interview streamed on Olympics.com that she “will win more than 100 races.” Vonn won her 82 races in 395 starts across 14 seasons, many of which were shortened by a variety of injuries. She retired in 2019 at age 34, her body too beat up to continue. Stenmark’s 86 victories came in what the International Ski Federation says were 230 starts in the 1970s and 1980s, though record-keeping wasn’t as precise in that era. Stenmark won his last race 15 years after his first, and he retired in 1989 just before he turned 33.

Shiffrin turns 28 in March, and she is indeed closer to the end of her career than the beginning. But her 83rd win came in her 238th start, and because she made her World Cup debut just before she turned 16, she is already in her 13th season. She has piled up victories at a higher rate than either Stenmark and Vonn, and she would seem to have years ahead of her to build on her total.

After she tied Vonn this month, Shiffrin expressed uncertainty about “resetting” — her preferred term to “breaking” — Stenmark’s record.

“I know it’s possible. Like, we have a lot of races left, and there’s not that many till I get to that number,” she told reporters. “But I know I might not win another race this season. And people will be like: ‘Oh, my gosh, you were so close. What happened?’ And I’m like, ‘That’s ski racing.’”

Vonn, however, sees it differently. “I knew from the very beginning that she would be the one to break all the records, but to do it at such a young age is really impressive,” Vonn wrote in a first-person essay for the Associated Press this month.

“Catching Ingemar Stenmark’s men’s mark of 86 wins was always the ultimate goal for me, but with the injuries I sustained it just wasn’t possible. For her, the sky’s the limit. I don’t think that Stenmark is necessarily the benchmark. She’s going to set the new standard, and we’ll have to wait and see how high she can go.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.