American skier Shiffrin fails to finish 1st race at world championships
MERIBEL, France — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin missed what looked like a certain gold medal Monday on the first day of the world championships, exiting the women’s combined with the finish in sight.
Shiffrin rode the penultimate gate of her slalom race while looking set to beat first run leader and eventual winner Federica Brignone of Italy.
“It doesn’t happen very often, no. I felt like I was skiing well,” said Shiffrin, who was the race’s defending champion. “I had a really good run.”
Shiffrin was competing in her first major competition since going medalless in six starts at the Beijing Olympics last year.
The American is having a stellar season on the World Cup circuit, where she won 11 races, including five slaloms, out of 23 starts and appears to be on the way to her fifth overall title — widely regarded as the highest prize. important in ski racing.
She won three races in six days two weeks ago to take her career tally to 85 World Cup wins, beating former team-mate Lindsey Vonn’s women’s record of 82 and moving into one of the overall records established by the great Swede Ingemar Stenmark in the 1970s and 80s.
World Championship races do not count towards World Cup wins.
Shiffrin trailed Brignone by 0.96 seconds after the super-G portion of Monday’s race, but had made up 0.88 of that difference in his slalom run before skiing.
The combined event adds the results of a super-G run and a slalom run.
“The only way I have a chance is to ski at full throttle. So I was doing this, take the risk of not finishing,” Shiffrin said. “That’s what you have to do if you want to medal at the world championships. In the end it felt like you let it go on arrival just one gate too early and then you got out.
Shiffrin reacted in apparent open-mouthed astonishment before leaning over his ski poles. She then went to Brignone and kissed the Italian skier.
“So it’s disappointing, but it’s still pretty positive how I skied,” said Shiffrin, whose next world championship race is the super-G on Wednesday. “I have some work to do to find where I can catch up times in the super-G. It’s so much fun to ski this hill, so I’m looking forward to it.
Shiffrin has won six world titles and 11 medals overall in 13 previous world championship starts.
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