SÖLDEN, Austria (AP) — Probably the most becoming congratulations for Mikaela Shiffrin arrived some 5 hours after she gained the World Cup season opener on Saturday — and it got here from one other American snowboarding nice.
“Inspiring to see you succeed and extra importantly to see you smile. Congrats @MikaelaShiffrin,” her former teammate Lindsey Vonn wrote on Twitter.
Shiffrin was actually all smiles after profitable the large slalom on an Austrian glacier on an ideal sunny day for her seventieth World Cup victory, leaving her 12 wins wanting the ladies’s document held by Vonn, who retired in 2019.
“My purpose was to ski properly, and with hearth,” Shiffrin after the race, during which she fought a good battle with GS world champion Lara Intestine-Behrami.
Shiffrin did ski properly. The 2-time Olympic champion finally edged her Swiss challenger by .14 because the pair left the remainder of the sector properly behind, with defending general World Cup champion Petra Vlhova a large 1.30 seconds behind in third.
And Shiffrin did it with hearth.
One motive it flared up had been her teammates and coaches from the U.S. ski group, who went via an intense two-week preparation previous to Saturday’s race.
“My teammates had been snowboarding actually quick, pushing even more durable in coaching than the velocity they’d at present,” Shiffrin stated.
“We have now simply been pushing the boundaries on daily basis. I by no means felt like comfy or glad.”
Not simply Shiffrin benefited from the joined observe classes: 4 of the 5 American starters made the flip after the primary run and ended up scoring World Cup factors.
Nina O’Brien even bought a career-best lead to GS by ending ninth, enhancing three locations from her earlier finest, which got here within the final race of final season.
“For me personally, I used to be actually nervous earlier than the primary run. It’s undoubtedly a aid to have one race achieved. I confirmed some good snowboarding, all in all I’m glad,” stated O’Brien, who confirmed her finest GS expertise on the world championships final February, when she completed runner-up to Shiffrin within the first run.
“It’s actually good if I may be there with the highest women,” O’Brien added. “I didn’t fairly present it at present, however hopefully I can discover these good turns and good snowboarding within the subsequent races.”
AJ Harm completed twentieth, simply two spots wanting her private finest. Additionally, Paula Moltzan positioned twenty third, after ending tenth within the season opener a yr in the past. Solely Keely Cashman didn’t qualify for the second run.
“They’re pushing the tempo actual excessive, so I’m pushing too. It’s been a extremely good buildup and a good way to start out the season,” Shiffrin stated.
“I’ve to maintain elevating my degree, too … everyone is hungry. I really feel that motivation and it’s so superb to have that tempo coming from the US. That’s particular.”
Shiffrin stated she additionally gained from the presence of her boyfriend, 2020 males’s general World Cup champion Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, who was watching on from the end space.
The Norwegian, who made his relationship with Shiffrin public in an Instagram post last May, talked to Shiffrin between runs and hugged her after the race.
“He’s a lot enjoyable to speak to about snowboarding,” Shiffrin stated. “I like understanding that he’s watching. We’re going to discuss it later: what was good, what can I do higher?”
The arrival of Kilde has brightened up Shiffrin’s life once more, following two tough years which included the lack of her grandmother in October 2019 and the loss of life of her father lower than 4 months later.
“It’s superb,” Shiffrin stated about her relationship with Kilde. “I at all times used to assume that having a boyfriend could be such an enormous distraction, but it surely’s actually simply so good.”
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