KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin matched Lindsey Vonn’s women’s skiing World Cup record with her 82nd victory Sunday.
Shiffrin led from start to finish to win a giant slalom by a wide margin and can now break Vonn’s mark in a night slalom scheduled for Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday.
“I was so nervous this run. I have a rash on my face I was so nervous,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t know why, maybe it was a little bit because of the 82. I just wanted to ski well and I did.”
Shiffrin celebrated with a scream and bent over and put her hands on the poles before kissing her skis during the awards ceremony.
“It was a battle. But it was pretty amazing conditions and I got a report from the coaches and they said, ‘It’s really attackable, so just go for it,'” she said. “I’ve been in this position before and I have given it away and today I wanted to fight for it.”
Already with eight wins this season, Shiffrin is also fast approaching Ingemar Stenmark’s overall record — between men and women — of 86 wins.
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Vonn retired four years ago when injuries ended his pursuit of Stenmark’s record.
Shiffrin and Vonn now have 20 more wins each than the next woman on the all-time list, Annemarie Moser-Pröll of Austria at 62.
While the oft-injured Vonn required 395 runs for her 82 wins, Shiffrin has done so in just 233 runs. And at age 27, Shiffrin could compete for several more years and win many more races.
Shiffrin’s performance comes almost a year after a disappointing performance at the Beijing Olympics, when she competed in six events without winning a medal.
However, winning this race never seemed in doubt.
On an overcast morning, Shiffrin was the first starter and put down a much more aggressive opening run than either of her two trips down the steep Podkoren course on Saturday, as she finished in a tie for sixth.
“I couldn’t ski any faster,” Shiffrin said after her first run. “I felt much, much better this first race than yesterday. I had to try to change my feeling from yesterday. It was very good skiing and I’m happy with that.”
Shiffrin was the last skier to start the second run and increased her advantage at each checkpoint to finish a full 0.77 seconds ahead of Italy’s Federica Brignone and 0.97 ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami.
With few American fans at the race near the Italian border, supporters of Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova Shiffrin cheered loudly. A few children waved American flags and family members of Paula Moltzan, another American skier, were in attendance wearing American hockey uniforms.
Shiffrin also moved ahead of Moser-Pröll and Tessa Worley of France with her 17th giant slalom victory for second on the women’s career list behind only Vreni Schneider, the Swiss skier who won on 20.
New Zealand skier Alice Robinson suffered a nasty fall during her second run, crashing face first into the snow, but she quickly got back up and skied to the bottom.