KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin matched Lindsey Vonn’s women’s World Cup skiing record with her 82nd win Sunday.
Shiffrin led from start to finish to win a giant slalom by a large margin and can now break Vonn’s mark in a night slalom scheduled for Flachau, Austria, on Tuesday.
“I was so nervous this run. I have a rash on my face I was so nervous,” Shiffrin said. “I don’t know why, maybe a little bit was because of 82. I just really wanted to ski well, and I did.”
Shiffrin celebrated with a scream then bent over and rested her hands on her poles before kissing her skis in the awards ceremony.
“It was a fight. But it was pretty amazing conditions and I got a report from the coaches and they were like, ‘It’s really attackable, so just go for it,’” she said. “I’ve been in this position before and I’ve given it away and today I wanted to fight for it.”
Already with eight wins this season, Shiffrin is also quickly approaching Ingemar Stenmark’s overall record — between men and women — of 86 victories.
Vonn retired four years ago when injuries ended her pursuit of Stenmark’s record.
Shiffrin and Vonn now each have 20 more wins than the next woman on the all-time list, Annemarie Moser-Pröll of Austria at 62.
While the often-injured Vonn required 395 races for her 82 wins, Shiffrin has done it in just 233 races. And at age 27, Shiffrin could compete for several more years and win many more races.
Shiffrin’s achievement comes almost a year after a disappointing performance at the Beijing Olympics, when she competed in six events without winning a medal.
Winning this race, though, never really seemed in doubt.
On an overcast morning, Shiffrin was the first starter and laid down a much more aggressive opening run than either of her two trips down the steep Podkoren course on Saturday, when she finished in a tie for sixth.
“I couldn’t ski faster,” Shiffrin said after her first run. “I felt much, much better this first run than yesterday. I had to try to change my feeling from yesterday. It was very good skiing and I’m happy with that.”
Shiffrin was the last skier to start the second run and increased her advantage at every checkpoint to finish a whopping 0.77 seconds ahead of Italy’s Federica Brignone and 0.97 ahead of Switzerland’s Lara Gut-Behrami.
With few American fans at the race near the Italian border, supporters of Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova cheered Shiffrin loudly. A few kids were waving American flags and family members of Paula Moltzan, another American skier, were on hand wearing USA hockey jerseys.
Shiffrin also moved ahead of Moser-Pröll and Tessa Worley of France with her 17th giant slalom win for second on the women’s career list behind only Vreni Schneider, the Swiss skier who won 20.
New Zealand skier Alice Robinson was the victim of an ugly fall during her second run, crashing face first into the snow, but she quickly got up and skied to the bottom.