Mikaela Shiffrin, who was racing for the first time since January, was content with second place behind Petra Vlhova in a World Cup slalom on Saturday but still “felt a lot of happiness” to finally get back in the starting grid

“I’m enjoying second place more than ever before,” said Shiffrin, winner of 66 World Cup races, “because I felt like I was pushing and skiing was the best. than I could today I feel I can be more proud of this than I was “

World slalom slalom champion Vlhova set the fastest time in both heats to beat the American by 018 seconds in Finnish Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle

“It was really hard to imagine being here again and running And being on the podium is just something I hardly dared to really imagine, because you don’t want to be disappointed anymore” , said the two-time Olympic champion and three-time overall champion

Shiffrin’s previous season ended prematurely after the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin This was followed by the cancellation of end-of-season races amid the coronavirus outbreak, then she suspended the first race of the new season in Austria in October due to back injury

Shiffrin, 25, had wondered if she wanted to continue her ski racing career, but after Saturday’s race she looked optimistic

“I hope that from here I can continue because I want to,” she said “I felt a lot of happiness skiing today and in I had fun and I have felt i had been skiing really good After all that happened it’s really cool to be able to ski race and get on the podium, and get a second place, it’s like , wow! “

Taking part in the second round on a course established by her trainer Livio Magoni, Vlhova claimed her fourth consecutive victory in slalom

“I tried to take this advantage that my coach set the course for, and I did,” said Vlhova “It was not easy because it started to snow and the course has also got a bit destroyed But I did it and I’m really happy The first win in the first slalom of the season is always good “

Katharina Liensberger of Austria was 057 behind in third, while the rest of the peloton, led by Swiss rider Wendy Holdener, were at least 135 out of the lead

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Vlhova followed Shiffrin 013 in the first division but outstripped the American at all subsequent checkpoints before finishing 015 ahead

In the final heat, Vlhova initially extended her lead to 052 but lost more than three tenths as she failed to match Shiffrin’s pace in the flat finish section

“In the second run you start last and want to confirm your first run It’s the pressure It wasn’t a perfect race because I made some mistakes But in the end it was green” said Vlhova, referring to the color in which the best times are displayed on a video wall in the finish area

In a streak that started in January 2017, the last 27 World Cup slaloms have all been won by either Shiffrin, with 19 wins, or Vlhova

Vlhova won the slalom title of the season last year, edging Shiffrin by 20 points, after the American won it six times in the previous seven seasons

“Nothing has changed, but everything has changed too”, said Shiffrin “But it’s really fun to be here, to see everyone skiing It’s fun to watch and for me it was fun to do “

Federica Brignone, who ended Shiffrin’s three-year reign as the overall champion last season, finished 161 behind after the first run, but failed to complete her second and failed has not scored any points in the World Cup

Italian teammate Marta Bassino, who won the season opener last month, finished more than three seconds behind in 18th

Slalom specialist Anna Swenn Larsson missed the race as the entire Swedish team quarantined after a COVID-19 test for one of its coaches came back positive

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World News – IF – Mikaela Shiffrin takes second place after World Cup return

Source: https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-11-21/mikaela-shiffrin-takes-second-place-in-world-cup-return