Mikaela Shiffrin Takes a Commanding First-run Lead, Becomes Most Successful Skier in the Modern Era

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“Today, I saw myself losing it. My heart is going crazy; I feel like I am going to faint,” Mikaela Shiffrin said after she won her seventh career Alpine world championships gold medal, winning the giant slalom in Méribel, France, in the Alps.

The American took her overall tally to 13 medals from 16 career world championship races, making her the most successful skier in the modern era.

She now sits two medals behind German Christl Cranz’s record 15 medals won in the 1930s when races were hosted every year instead of biannually as they are now.

After taking a commanding first-run lead, Shiffrin dropped to 12th on the second run and ended the race with a combined time of 2:07.13, just 0.12 seconds ahead of Italy’s Federica Brignone.

The relief was palpable on the 27-year-old’s face after a difficult few years of significant events. Shiffrin is competing in her first major event since last year’s Olympics in Beijing, where she did not pick up a single medal from five races and failed to finish three.

She failed to finish in her first world championships race before picking up silver in the super-G and gold in the giant slalom.

Her victory also came a day after her longtime coach Mike Day left her team. Day, who had coached Shiffrin for seven years and 65 of her 85 World Cup wins, decided to go the team after Shiffrin had informed him that at the end of the season, she would be moving on to use other staff.

“It’s been some high levels of stress these days,” Shiffrin said. “It was very, very difficult today to keep the focus and keep the intensity on the right level.

“One thing I really want to say is just, ‘Thank you,’ to Mike for seven years of – I can’t even say helping me – he’s been such an integral part of my team and being there to support me through some of the most incredible moments in my career and some of the most challenging moments of my career and also my life,” an emotional Shiffrin added.

Shiffrin has one more event at the world championships when she races in the slalom.

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