America’s Teen Queen Is World Champion; Shiffrin Wins Slalom
She’s 17 years old and the youngest woman in 28 years to win a gold medal in the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships. Mikaela Shiffrin, from Eagle-Vail, Colo., came from behind after her first run to win the gold medal.
Shiffrin’s gold medal has made these World Championships a stunning success for the USA. The U.S. Ski Team has not missed a beat without Lindsey Vonn, the top American woman skier of all time injured early in the championships, and Bode Miller, taking an injury exemption to sit out this season to be healthy for the Sochi Olympics next February. Olympic Champion Ted Ligety already has won three gold medals and Julia Mancuso won bronze in the super-G.
A huge crowd of more than 30,000 in the sold out stadium at Schladming, Austria saw Shiffrin who had earlier said she couldn’t even feel her legs she was so nervous, discover them as soon as she was on the course.
She was sitting in third place, .18 second behind Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter after the first run. Hansdotter ultimately finished with a bronze. Austria’s Michaela Kirchgasser took the silver medal – a good day to be named Michaela.
Ironically, it was 1985 when then 17-year-old Diann Roffe (Steinrotter) of the U.S. stunned the field in Bormio, Italy by winning the world GS gold medal.
“This is for everyone who believed in my dream and for those believing in their own,” Shiffrin said. “I thought I hope it holds (there were two top racers still to go). I was thinking so many things. It was one of those times when everything was a blur and that’s when you know it’s good. I’ve been taking it day by day and right now I’m just taking it second by second.”
Shiffrin’s mother, father, and brother were on hand to watch the event that was witnessed on television by millions in Europe and on NBC in the U.S.
One more event remains on the calendar for these World Champions: The men’s slalom Sunday.
Photo: Mikaela Shiffrin wins slalom gold medal (AP)