Mikaela Shiffrin gets first major speed medal with super-G win at worlds

ARE, Sweden — As Mikaela Shiffrin hopped atop the podium to celebrate another gold medal, Lindsey Vonn was nearby on the sidelines of the finish area, stretching her ailing knees and explaining just how she wound up entangled in a safety net halfway down the course.

Definitive proof, not that it was really needed, of a passing of the baton in American — and world — ski racing.

With a daring and often wild run, Shiffrin won the super-G by 0.02 of a second at the skiing world championships Tuesday for her first medal in a speed event at a major championship.

She has won a gold medal at four straight worlds. Coming in a season when she has been virtually unbeatable in the World Cup, she is unmistakably the queen of ski racing.

Sofia Goggia, the Olympic downhill champion from Italy, managed a runner-up finish despite only recently beginning her season because of a right ankle injury. Corinne Suter of Switzerland was third, 0.05 behind — a remarkable result for a racer who nearly needed to have her right foot amputated last year after blood poisoning that almost went untreated when training at Stelvio, Italy.

That Vonn crashed out is not surprising, giving her usual risk-taking. Shiffrin, a more technical racer than Vonn, also took risks and that meant the victory wasn’t without its complications. She veered off line on the lower section of the course, flailed her arms midair to slow down and narrowly cleared the next gate, clipping it with her side.

The mistake occurred right in front of U.S. head coach Paul Kristofic.

“She flew far and slightly off to the left and had to make a fairly significant correction,” Kristofic said. “Not many people can do that but she showed the world that she can, and not only just to recover from the mistake, but to carry as much speed out of it and keep your head in the game.”

Perhaps it explained Shiffrin’s reaction after seeing her time. She crouched over and held her hands to her face in disbelief.

“This is crazy,” Shiffrin said. “I really wasn’t expecting this.”

Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic champion, is a four-time world champion and a five-time medalist at the worlds, to go with her 56 World Cup victories. That puts her 26 wins behind Vonn on the all-time list and 30 behind men’s record holder Ingemar Stenmark.

“I think she’s going to break all the records,” Vonn said of Shiffrin, moments after describing her racing as “methodical and technical, kind of the opposite to me.”

“There’s kind of no point me breaking them, because she’s going to break them anyway.”

Steve Douglas is an Associated Press writer.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Mikaela-Shiffrin-gets-first-major-speed-medal-13592301.php.

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