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Mikaela Shiffrin wins rare downhill for 91st World Cup victory

SKI-ALPINE-WORLD-WOMEN-SUI-DOWNHILL

SKI-ALPINE-WORLD-WOMEN-SUI-DOWNHILL

Mikaela Shiffrin earned a record-extending 91st World Cup win by claiming a downhill in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday.

Shiffrin won the first downhill race of the season by 15 hundredths of a second over 2018 Olympic gold medalist Sofia Goggia of Italy. Another Italian, Federica Brignone, was another two hundredths behind.

The race was stopped after the first 35 of 56 scheduled racers due to poor visibility. A race can count if 30 skiers go. All of the world’s top-ranked skiers are in the first 30 of a start list.

“Now it’s getting quite a bit darker, actually,” she said afterward. “When the top women went, it was such good visibility, so you had to push, and I really did. I wasn’t sure if it would be the wrong direction or the right direction, but in the end it’s enough.”

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Shiffrin notched her fourth career World Cup downhill win, moving into solo third place on the U.S. women’s all-time list behind Lindsey Vonn (record 43) and Picabo Street (nine). She broke her tie with four other Americans who won three, including Julia Mancuso and Hilary Lindh.

Shiffrin now has 100 career wins at the top level of ski racing combining the annual World Cup circuit (91), biennial world championships (seven) and quadrennial Olympics (two).

It was her first downhill win since the March 2022 World Cup Finals. Shiffrin credited her experience from racing two downhills in St. Moritz last December and placing fourth and sixth. Those were the first World Cup downhills at the venue since 2016.

She last trained downhill in September.

“I maybe started to figure out a feeling I want to have in downhill,” said Shiffrin, who doesn’t race every downhill as her focus is on the technical events of slalom and giant slalom. “I’m always wondering, should I be going to do the downhill? Should I just focus on super-G and also get GS and slalom training? So I really want to make it worth it.”

Last season, Goggia was first or second in the eight World Cup downhills that she finished.

“I hope that I can stay in a position to fight for podiums when I’m competing downhill,” Shiffrin said, “but anyway, my money’s on her (Goggia).”

A super-G is scheduled in St. Moritz on Sunday. Shiffrin placed fourth in a super-G there on Friday.