It had been 300 days since Mikaela Shiffrin’s final race, following the sudden dying of her father and the cancellation of competitions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mikaela Shiffrin, racing for the primary time since January, settled for second place behind Petra Vlhova in a World Cup slalom on Saturday however nonetheless “felt a number of happiness” to lastly get again within the begin gate.
“I take pleasure in a second place greater than I did ever earlier than,” stated Shiffrin, a winner of 66 World Cup races, “as a result of I felt I used to be pushing and having some good snowboarding. It was the most effective I may right now. I really feel I may be extra pleased with that than I was.”
Vlhova, the World Cup slalom champion from Slovakia, posted the quickest instances in each runs to beat the American by 0.18 seconds in Finnish Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle.
However for Shiffrin, the outcome wasn’t her largest concern.
“It’s been actually arduous to think about being right here once more and racing. And being on the rostrum, that’s simply one thing I virtually didn’t dare to essentially think about, since you don’t need to be dissatisfied once more,” the double Olympic and three-time total champion stated.
Shiffrin’s earlier season ended prematurely after the dying of her father, Jeff Shiffrin. That was adopted by the cancellation of the season-ending races amid the coronavirus outbreak, after which she sat out the primary race of the brand new season in Austria in October with a again harm.
The 25-year-old Shiffrin had puzzled whether or not she wished to proceed her ski racing profession, however after Saturday’s race she sounded optimistic.
“I hope from right here I can maintain going as a result of I need to,” she stated. “I felt a number of happiness snowboarding right now, and racing. I had enjoyable and I felt I did some actually good snowboarding. After the whole lot that has occurred, it’s actually cool to only have the ability to ski race and get a podium, and get a second place, that’s like, wow!”
Racing the second run on a course set by her coach Livio Magoni, Vlhova earned her fourth straight slalom win.
“I attempted to take this benefit that my coach set the course, and I did it,” Vlhova stated. “It wasn’t straightforward, because it began snowing and likewise the course was a bit destroyed. However I did it and I’m actually joyful. First victory within the first slalom of the season is all the time good.”
Austria’s Katharina Liensberger was 0.57 behind in third, whereas the remainder of the sphere, led by Swiss racer Wendy Holdener, was not less than 1.35 off the lead.
Carrying bib No. 1, Shiffrin had opened the race with an error-free run.
Vlhova trailed Shiffrin by 0.13 on the first break up however was forward of the American in any respect following test factors earlier than ending 0.15 forward.
Within the closing run, Vlhova initially prolonged her result in 0.52 however misplaced over three tenths as she did not match Shiffrin’s tempo within the flat end part.
“Within the second run you begin final and need to affirm you first run. That is stress. It was not an ideal run as a result of I did some errors. However on the finish it was inexperienced,” stated Vlhova, referring to the colour during which main instances are displayed on a video-wall within the end space.
In a streak that began in January 2017, the final 27 World Cup slaloms have all been received by both Shiffrin, with 19 wins, or Vlhova.
Vlhova received the season-long slalom title final yr, edging Shiffrin by 20 factors, after the American had received it six instances within the earlier seven seasons.
The pair continued their dominance in Saturday’s race.
“Nothing’s modified, but additionally the whole lot’s modified,” Shiffrin stated. “Nevertheless it’s actually enjoyable to be right here, to see everyone snowboarding. It’s enjoyable to look at and for me it was enjoyable to do.”
Federica Brignone, who ended Shiffrin’s three-year reign as total champion final season, was 1.61 behind after the opening run however failed to complete her second and did not rating World Cup factors.
Italian teammate Marta Bassino, who received the season-opener final month, completed greater than three seconds behind in 18th.
Slalom specialist Anna Swenn Larsson missed the race as the whole Swedish workforce quarantined after a COVID-19 take a look at for one among its coaches got here again optimistic.
A restricted variety of spectators had been allowed on the race.
One other ladies’s slalom is scheduled for Sunday.
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