‘Perfect on the skis’: Mikaela Shiffrin caps record-breaking year with brace of dominant victories

CNNFor American Mikaela Shiffrin, 2023 was the year in which she sealed her place in the record books, overtaking the legendary Ingemar Stenmark to tally the most World Cup wins of any skier in history.

It seems fitting, then, that Shiffrin capped the year with two consecutive victories at Lienz, Austria, extending her record to 93 career World Cup wins in dominant style.

Her giant slalom success on Thursday was followed by a slalom victory a day later, which she won by 2.34 seconds, an enormous margin rarely seen in the discipline.

“Today was a very special day for me,” the 28-year-old told the FIS website after her slalom win on Friday. “I felt perfect on the skis so I’m super happy.”

Shiffrin led the field by more than a second after an electrifying first run and, instead of holding back on the second run, the American skier extended her advantage with a flawless performance.

“First run, second run were totally different courses — different timing, different flow,” added Shiffrin. “And I felt I just had a really good plan and my coaches pointed out the really key sections of the course and then I was good to go.”

Similarly, in her giant slalom victory on Thursday, Shiffrin had underscored her dominance with a quick first run before coasting down the second to seal the win.

It is the second consecutive year that the American has won both races in the period between Christmas and New Year.


“The last couple of years I was really building through the beginning of the season to this point, and somehow it clicks I guess,” said Shiffrin.

The slalom has been Shiffrin’s best discipline of the season so far, as she has finished on the podium in 12 of her last 13 World Cup slalom events, the only blemish being a fourth place at Levi, Finland in November.

And with 13 World Cup wins in the calendar year, 2023 has been the joint second-most successful year for Shiffrin in her career, trailing only 2019 in which she won 15 World Cup races.

Such a year marks a remarkable comeback for Shiffrin given that she did not pick up a single medal from five races at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and failed to finish in three of them.

After finishing atop the overall World Cup standings last season, Shifrrin leads the overall standings in this year’s World Cup as well.