Skip to content

U.S. skier Shiffrin, 17, makes history in World Cup race

Dec 21, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Ever heard of Mikaela Shiffrin?

If you don’t closely follow Alpine ski racing, your answer is probably a no. But now is the time to start reading up on this 17-year-old Alpine skiing phenom.

At 17 years, 9 months and 7 days, Shiffrin became the third youngest American to ever win an Alpine World Cup race on Thursday after claiming victory in a slalom race in Are, Sweden.

Shiffrin is from Vail, Colo., and attends Burke Mountain Academy, a private school in East Burke, Vt. that teaches both academics and ski racing. Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in March 2011. Later that year she raced in another World Cup event and finished eighth in the slalom. A year ago, Shiffrin placed third in a slalom race at Lienz, Austria. Last March, she won the slalom at the U.S. National Championships – after doing the same at the 2011 Nationals.

So yeah, it’s probably time to start paying attention to this talented teenager.

When asked about her victory, Shiffrin had this to say (courtesy of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association): “I was just trying to fly. I couldn’t imagine what winning [a World Cup race] would feel like. I only knew the feeling of knowing you’ve skied your best.”

Let’s think about this for a minute. Lindsey Vonn has the speed events covered for the U.S. women, the downhill and the super-G. You can throw Julia Mancuso into that mix as well. Mancuso and Shiffrin are solid in the giant slalom. In the slalom there’s really only one American we need to know about: Shiffrin. Her victory yesterday catapulted her to the top of the World Cup slalom standings.

So will we see Shiffrin on more podiums in the near future? And what about the Sochi Olympics, which are just over a year away?

“I met Mikaela last summer and she is indeed a great kid with a wonderful ski future in front of her,” said Kiki Cutter, the youngest American to win a World Cup race (slalom in 1968 at 16 years, 7 months, 1 day). “I am sure that we are going to see many more victories from Mikaela.”

Cutler was also the first American in history to win a World Cup race, so you can’t get much more of an expert opinion than hers. And if she’s right, Mikaela, we’ll see you on the slopes in Sochi.

Latest Posts
  1. The jump for the ages: Mike Powell, Bob Beamon and a revered world record

    Oct 20, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT

    Mike Powell Getty Images

    A look back at the greatest head-to-head duel in track and field history.

  2. Bill Demong to run New York City Marathon

    Oct 20, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

    Bill Demong Getty Images

    Olympic champion hasn’t retired from Nordic combined, either.

  3. Bangalore half marathon leaders get lost, forced to take train

    Oct 20, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT

    Bangalore Marathon Getty Images

    “Morning joggers helped us and also guided us to the nearest metro station.”

  4. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale have Olympic 100m final speed, Liverpool manager says

    Oct 20, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale Getty Images

    How fast would they have to traverse the Bernabeu to have Olympic 100m final speed?

  5. Lindsey Vonn still struggles with depression

    Oct 20, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

    Lindsey Vonn Getty Images

    Olympic downhill champion told German magazine she has good days and bad days.

  6. Apolo Ohno on Ironman: A milestone among my 8 Olympic medals

    Oct 20, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Apolo Ohno AP

    Ohno said he went into “full warrior mode” in Hawaii.

  7. Beijing Marathon run through smog (video, photos)

    Oct 20, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

    ATHLETICS-CHN-MARATHON-BEIJING Getty Images

    U.S. Embassy scale had air pollution level at “hazardous.”

  8. IOC wants ‘full explanation’ from Russian about ‘Williams brothers’ comments

    Oct 20, 2014, 8:37 AM EDT

    Shamil Tarpischev Getty Images

    Shamil Tarpischev, Russian tennis president, is also a longtime IOC member.

  9. Aksel Lund Svindal injured playing soccer, likely out most of season

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Aksel Lund Svindal Getty Images

    How top Americans, Austrian going for history will be affected this World Cup season.

  10. Shaun White brings Air & Style event to Rose Bowl

    Oct 17, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    Shaun White Getty Images

    Two-time Olympic halfpipe champion won’t be competing, though.

  11. Michelle Kwan, Sarah Hughes opine on skating to lyrics

    Oct 17, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT

    Michelle Kwan Getty Images

    Top U.S. skaters are incorporating new rule into their programs this season.

  12. Oscar Pistorius’ sentence expected Tuesday

    Oct 17, 2014, 9:41 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius Getty Images

    Runner faces up to 15 years in prison.

  13. Justin Gatlin not among IAAF Athlete of the Year award finalists

    Oct 17, 2014, 6:48 AM EDT

    Justin Gatlin Getty Images

    Gatlin’s inclusion on previous 10-man nomination list drew criticism.

  14. Noelle Pikus-Pace: I already miss skeleton, but happily retired

    Oct 16, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    Noelle Pikus-Pace Getty Images

    Olympic silver medalist has an interesting post-skeleton bucket list.

  15. Simone Biles still buzzing after World Championships whirlwind

    Oct 16, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT

    Simone Biles Getty Images

    Biles recalls bee tale, talks of specific vault upgrade, uneven bars hatred.

  16. J.R. Celski not on U.S. short track team for World Cups

    Oct 16, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

    J.R. Celski Getty Images

    Three-time Olympic medalist previously said he was taking a break.

  17. Simone Biles returns home to pack of gymnasts (video)

    Oct 15, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Simone Biles

    Biles talks about the bee and what’s next.

  18. Ryan Lochte makes teen swimmer’s wish come true

    Oct 15, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Ryan Lochte Getty Images

    Erik Nieman, 15, flew from Arkansas to Charlotte for a special training session.

  19. Gracie Gold calls audible, adds lyrics for post-Olympic season

    Oct 15, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

    Gracie Gold Getty Images

    U.S. champion makes her Grand Prix season debut at Skate America next week.

Featured video

Yogging a hit at Youth Olympic Games