Mikaela Shiffrin delights home fans with Killington slalom victory
Shiffrin equals Ingemar Stenmark's record for World Cup wins in a single discipline after a big mistake from Petra Vlhova early in her second run ended her hopes of a slalom hat-trick.
Mikaela Shiffrin made history on home snow with victory in the Killington World Cup slalom on Sunday (28 November).
After trailing Petra Vlhova by two-tenths after the first run, the double Olympic champion gave it everything on her second run accompanied by deafening roars from the Vermont crowd.
She went into the lead by 0.83s from Swiss skier Wendy Holdener with just Vlhova to go.
The Slovak star, fresh from last weekend's double in Levi, Finland, started well but then had to almost stop to make a gate and lost all her speed.
She managed to hold on for second place as Shiffrin equalled Ingemar Stenmark's record of 46 World Cup wins in a single discipline with the Swede achieving that feat in giant slalom.
Shiffrin, 26, spent some of her schooldays in Vermont and the occasion - her first completed race in the United States since the passing of her father Jeff last year - was all too much for her.
She eventually fought back the tears to speak in her interview after scoring her fifth Killington slalom win from five attempts.
The American said, "It was a big fight today. I was quite happy with how I skied the second (run)... A small mistake, not as big as Petra's mistake, but just starting to bring back the fight.
"It means even more to do it in the second run and it's special to win these races here. I could hear the crowd at the start of this run and that was amazing."
After Saturday's giant slalom was cancelled due to high winds, calmer conditions greeted the women for the third World Cup slalom of the season.
On a tricky second run set by Vlhova's assistant coach Matej Gemza, and with falling snow making life more difficult, Sweden’s Hanna Aronsson Elfman announced herself as a woman to watch.
The 18-year-old, who had two fifth-place finishes and a seventh at the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, was 28th after the first run wearing start number 60.
But she was blisteringly quick on her second run - only Shiffrin went faster - to move up to 15th place.
The atmosphere was electric as the leading contenders appeared with first Paula Moltzan, who finished seventh behind Sweden's Sara Hector, and then Shiffrin delighting a raucous home crowd.
Shiffrin's 71st career World Cup victory saw her go clear of Vlhova by 20 points in the overall standings with Slovenia's Andreja Slokar already 130 points further back.
Attention now turns to the speed racers as they get their season underway with two downhills and a Super-G at Lake Louise in Canada next weekend.