Shiffrin recovers to make it a four-peat in Are

Mikaela Shiffrin overcame the rest of the field as well as a cold to secure her fourth consecutive World Championship Slalom title, this time in Are, Sweden. With home racer Anna Swenn Larsson taking silver and Petra Vlhova the bronze, the strong first run by Wendy Holdener that had seen her take the first run lead, a mistake on the second run saw her challenge and goal of taking a third gold at the Championships evapourate.

Mikaela Shiffrin won a record fourth-straight FIS Alpine World Ski Championships slalom title with an amazing come-from-behind victory. Shiffrin’s win was even more impressive considering she was battling not only the best slalom racers in the world but a new opponent - a nasty chest cold.

“Halfway down the (second) run, I ran out of oxygen,” she said. “It was tough today.” It was so tough that at one point before the second run, she coughed so hard that her stomach went into spasms and she couldn’t breathe. Her mother, Eileen Shiffrin, said to her: “You don’t have to do this!”

In the end though, Shiffrin “just figured I had to be tough” for 60-seconds and she credited her team with the victory. “My whole team was around me all day and helping to make sure I was drinking...resting... and not wasting energy” she said.

After finishing third in the opening run, Shiffrin toughed it out and found her groove under the warm afternoon sunshine to absolutely nail the second run, moving into the lead by .72 seconds over Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, and putting significant pressure on the final two racers - Sweden’s Anna Swenn-Larsson and Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener.

“I knew I had to fight really hard the second run because Anna and Wendy are too strong, and the girls who were behind me were also really close,” Shiffrin said.

On the second run, Swenn-Larsson was fast up top but lost time to Shiffrin on the lower part of the course. Holdener, meanwhile, held a .15-second lead over Shiffrin, but quickly lost that and much more when she missed a gate just seconds into her run and was forced to ski back uphill in order to make the gate. She eventually finished 17th.

Swenn-Larsson held on to win the silver, her first World Championships medal, and Vlhova won the bronze, her third medal of the 2019 World Championships. With the win, Shiffrin goes down in the history books, becoming the first-ever athlete - male or female - to win in a specific discipline in four consecutive World Championships. Shiffrin’s slalom gold is her fourth-straight, including 2013, 2015 and 2017 World Championships. It is also her third medal of the 2019 World Championships, including the super-G gold and giant slalom bronze.

Spare a heart for Holdener as she lead convincingly after the first run only to suffer the ignomy of dropping down to 17th after a calamitous second run.

Charlie Guest was Britain's only racer in the race but had a very encouraging race. After moving into 30th place after the first run, the Quinn Estates sponsored racer had a nervous wait to see if she would start first on the second run or drop out of the top thirty. After the race she sent this to Racer Ready:

"I'm absolutely made up with it. Such a great day. Coming off the back of a long rehab period i was actually really chilled heading into the race and just had the attitude of "ski what you can and be happy" ... it was a very nerve wracking 20 mins waiting to see if i would stay in the 30 and once i knew that i was opening 2nd run, everything was a bonus."

Guest made the second run count as she moved up to 24th Overall with the 14th fastest second run time.

For Guest the day got better as her mother and sister, Katie, made a surprise visit and, Guest explained "honestly after the hardest four months of my life, everything just made me so grateful to everyone that has helped me, dealt with the tears, the frustration and kept belief in me. It makes me so happy to be doing this sport!"

Full results

Courtesy US Ski team press release

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