Skip to content

Mikaela Shiffrin lands on Lienz GS podium, Olympic team

Dec 28, 2013, 8:26 AM EDT

Austria Alpine Skiing World Cup AP

In landing on another podium, Mikaela Shiffrin made sure she also landed a spot in Sochi in a second event.

The American teen finished third behind Austrian Anna Fenninger and Swede Jessica Lindell-Vikarby in a World Cup giant slalom Saturday in Lienz, Austria, the final Olympic qualifying event in the discipline.

With the next World Cup giant slalom race not scheduled until Feb. 1 in Maribor, Slovenia, and the U.S. selecting its Olympic Team on Jan. 26, this was the final opportunity for American skiers to earn points toward Sochi qualification in the discipline.

Shiffrin had already locked up her spot on the Olympic team with her slalom victory in Levi, Finland on Nov. 16, and her runner-up finish in the giant slalom at Beaver Creek on Dec. 1 also virtually assured her an Olympic GS start. Athletes with World Cup podium finishes are nominated for inclusion in the Games. Scoring a second podium finish only served to cement her candidacy.

Based on criteria, three-time Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso would appear to be the next U.S. choice. She could have made that decision a no-brainer with a Top 10 finish – her best GS finish this season was a 12th in St. Moritz on Dec. 15 – but she continued her season-long struggles and wound up finishing 29th. Megan McJames, the only other American on the startlist, did not help her chances of making the Sochi roster when she hooked a tip a few gates before the finish of the first run and skied out.

Although slalom is clearly Shiffrin’s best event – she is the reigning world champion and has reached eight podiums in 22 World Cup starts with five victories – she is steadily entering the conversation of serious medal contenders in giant slalom as well.

Shiffrin has four Top 10 finishes in five starts in the discipline this season, the only blemish a DNF in St. Moritz on Dec. 15. Prior to this race, she opened with a sixth-place effort in Soelden on Oct. 26, finished second in Beaver Creek, and finished eighth in Val d’Isere on Dec. 22.

After one run, Shiffrin found herself in fourth place, .35 seconds behind the pace set by Lindell-Vikarby, who managed difficult conditions on the Hochstein course to open scant leads on Austrians Fenninger and Kathrin Zettel, who came in .02 seconds and .04 seconds behind.

“I’m normally pretty comfortable within half a second on a first run,” Shiffrin said. “It’s always better to come down and feel like you separated yourself from everybody, but I’m not quite there in GS. As long as I am in this position where I can really attack I’m psyched with that.”

Unlike her first run, where she dumped a few fractions of a second in the middle of the course, Shiffrin gained speed through that portion of her second run and carried a .68 second lead to the finish. Zettel followed, but lost most of her first-run advantage by the first time interval and wound up finishing fourth.

Fenninger absolutely pinned the top half of her second run and saw her .33 second advantage on Shiffrin at the start almost double by the first interval. She maintained that speed through the middle and lower sections and crossed with a half-second lead on Shiffrin. Lindell-Vikarby was unable to match that performance, assuring Fenninger of her third straight victory in World Cup races held on Dec. 28. Fenninger, who won this race in 2011, is the first woman to win the Lienz giant slalom twice.

“My preparation was good but I didn’t believe I could win today,” Fenninger told the Associated Press. “It’s funny that I’ve done it again on the 28th. I came here full of good memories and I tried to build on that feeling. I’ve learned a lot in recent years. I used to get distracted easily at races in Austria but now I use the home support as positive energy.”

All five World Cup giant slalom races this season have been won by different women.

It was not a good day for reigning World Cup overall champion Tina Maze of Slovenia and 2010 Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany, who each found themselves than two seconds off the lead pace set by Lindell-Vikarby during Run 1. Maze wound up finishing 14th while Rebensburg was 24th.

American Lindsey Vonn is sitting out this weekend to rest her re-injured right knee ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

Lindell-Vikarby added 80 points to her season total and continues to lead the World Cup season standings in giant slalom 332 points. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein, who finished 17th, remains the overall points leader with 609, 12 points ahead of Fenninger.

“The overall World Cup is not really an issue now, although people keep asking me about it,” Fenninger told AP.

The women’s Alpine skiing World Cup continues in Lienz tomorrow with the women’s slalom. The first run begins at 4:30 a.m. ET and second run at 7:30 a.m. ET. Shiffrin and Austria’s Marlies Schild figure to be among the top contenders.

“Last time I was in Lienz, I didn’t have a great GS race but I had a pretty good slalom race, so I’m really excited for tomorrow,” said Shiffrin, who earned her first World Cup slalom podium as a 16-year-old on this course. “I’m just thinking day-by-day and trying to put my best skiing out there. I feel like I always leave something on the hill, and I don’t want to do that anymore.”

Lienz Giant Slalom

1. Anna Fenninger (AUT) 2:17.00

2. Jessica Lindell-Vikarby (SWE) 2:17.50

3. Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) 2:17.51

4. Kathrin Zettel (AUT) 2:17.96

5. Nadia Fanchini (ITA) 2:18.19

6. Federica Brignone (ITA) 2:18.30

7. Maria Pietilae-Holmner (SWE) 2:19.21

8. Anemone Marmottan (FRA) 2:19.33

9. Nina Loeseth (NOR) 2:19.48

10. Denise Karbon (ITA) 2:19.54

29. Julia Mancuso (USA)

DNF Megan McJames (USA)

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