ARE, Sweden (AP) — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin won her record-tying 86th World Cup race Friday with victory in a giant slalom.
Shiffrin’s win matched the overall record set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark 34 years ago.
The 27-year-old American protected her half-second lead from the first run and finished 0.64 seconds ahead of Federica Brignone.
Shiffrin crossed the finish line and put her hands to her helmet, then to her face and shook her head slowly while taking in the enormity of her achievement.
“This is just a spectacular day. Oh my goodness,” she said in a course-side interview.
Stenmark told The Associated Press last month that Shiffrin is “much better than I was.”
It was Shiffrin’s fourth straight wire-to-wire win in World Cup giant slaloms since January. In that time, she also took gold in the event at last month’s world championships in Meribel, France.
Shiffrin started cautiously in her second run under the floodlights in the fast-darkening afternoon, letting half of her 1.04-second first-run advantage over Brignone slip before picking up time on the bottom half.
Brignone made a theatrical bow toward Shiffrin in the post-race ceremony in the finish area.
Olympic champion Sara Hector of Sweden was third, 0.92 seconds behind Shiffrin.
Shiffrin also clinched the season-long World Cup giant slalom title to secure her 15th career crystal globe trophy. She already won her fifth overall World Cup title and the slalom title this season.
Making more World Cup history on Friday, Shiffrin's 20th career victory in the giant slalom — six of them this season — matched the all-time women’s mark held by Vreni Schneider.
Schneider got her wins between 1984 and 1992. The Swiss racer, like Shiffrin, also has Olympic and world championship gold medals in both giant slalom and slalom.
Shiffrin won her first World Cup race in Are, a slalom in December 2012, and then earned two gold medals at the 2019 worlds at the Swedish resort. It was also where she was due to race again in March 2020 after the death of her father the previous month, but the races were called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve had a quite a few different experiences here,” Shiffrin said after her first run on Friday. “I have felt everything you can feel here so it’s special to be back.”
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