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 . world ski news
09 April 2013 - 16:33
Mikaela Shiffrin at the top
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The first ‘World Cup Raising Star’ award launched this season by Longines has been presented at the Finals at Lenzerheide to two nearly ideal recipients who both perfectly represent the younger generation of future top champions – Mikaela Shiffrin from USA and Alexis Pinturault from France.


Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA and Alexis Pinturault of France receive the trophy of the best young skier of the season during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Nation's Team event on March 15, 2013 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Photo: Alexis Boichard/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Europe)

Last February, Mikaela became one of the youngest slalom World Champions in the history of the sport after clearly beating the rest of the field at Schladming in front of a huge crowd. A month later, she astonished once more the viewers and her fans with an amazing second run at Lenzerheide that allowed her to capture the slalom crystal globe ahead of Slovenia’s superstar Tina Maze, clearly in the lead after the first leg.


Mikaela Shiffrin of the USA takes the globe for the overall World Cup Slalom during the Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup Women's Slalom on March 16, 2013 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. (Photo: Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Europe)

The now 18 year-old-skier from Vail, Colorado, moved up very fast to the top. In December 2011, she was very proud in Lienz to stand for the first time on the winners’ podium next to role-models like Marlies Schild, who she admires as much as Croatia’s Janica Kostelic, Germany’s Maria Hoefl-Riesch or Finland’s veteran Tanja Poutiainen, for sure some of the most established slalom specialists on the tour.

“It was really something special to be standing on those podiums aside of Marlies who is such a great athlete,” Mikaela said afterwards. “I was very as happy as proud in at that occasion,” she added.

First US win at 16!

Shiffrin, born in March 1995, has been considered for a long time as a true slalom ‘prodigy’ and the champion to watch beside the ‘usual’ favorites fighting hard for a top result. She seemed so dedicated and focused on her ‘mission’ that nobody should be really surprised to see her keeping on improving her level in the coming seasons – including in giant slalom or in the speed events later.

On the Nor-Am circuit, the young skier from Vail had already achieved very encouraging performances in Super-G and giant slalom prior turning 16! At the end of her first international season, she clinched the slalom Nor-Am title and ended 3rd in giant slalom ehich qualified her for the 2011/2012 World Cup tour.

A bronze medal winner in slalom at the 2011 Junior Worlds in Crans-Montana despite being sick, the American also celebrated an impressive triumph that year in slalom at the US Nationals to become the youngest ever US champion!

Moving in the ‘zone’.

At Levi where she reached her second podium last December, the teenager explained after the race that it was quite thrilling for her to move again in her own ‘zone’ on the ‘Black Levi’ run, insisting she was often skiing the best when having that feeling to be sort of ‘flying with wings over the snow’!

Mikaela definitely is aiming for excitement when cruising down a slope – even though her main goal often is to temper her aggressiveness and her trend to go for broke. For sure her strong confidence and her determination to ski each time as fast as possible are her main driving forces behind her successful career and will strong help her to fully achieve her natural talent.

This perfectly comes out when she told reporters “I don’t have a fear of failure in skiing. I don’t really want to make a fool of myself, but skiing is something I know by heart and failure isn’t really a concept for me, and it shouldn’t be a concept really for any skier, because you’re out there doing something you love so how can you fail at it if you love it?”

A clear winner of the 'Longines trophy'.

This attitude also makes clear why she doesn’t seem to feel pressure when facing greatness – as it has been the case in prestigious night races at in Are, Zagreb or Flachau! For her it’s then only matter of engaging the turbo in her engine and pushing herself as hard as possible – mostly in the final gates where she gives that unique feeling to fly over the snow!

Mikaela is happy traveling the tour with her mother Eilen, a former ‘Master’ champion, who helps her doing her studies by correspondence and always keeping her feet on the ground. In 2012, she ended the overall World Cup standings at the promising 43rd place, by far the best result for a racer part of the under-20-age-group! A year later she was already 5th only two hundred points away from 3rd place finisher Anna Fenninger!


Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States of America skis in the Women's Slalom during the Alpine FIS Ski World Championships on February 16, 2013 in Schladming, Austria. (Photo: Clive Mason/Getty Images Europe)

This winter, she was by far the best contender of the newly created ‘Longines Raising Star’ award given to women under 21 having achieved the best performance in the Overall classification at the Finals in Lenzerheide. Switerland’s Wendy Holdener was 2nd in 20th position and Sweden’s Nathalie Eklund 3rd in 43rd position. It’s quite difficult to imagine that she won’t fight again for that reward.

A.I.J.S. Ski Press
April 09, 2013


 
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Next:
Increasing interest in Swix Ski Classics! – 24 April 2013 - 15:11
Trofeo Mezzalama is postponed, the race won`t take place this weekend – 24 April 2013 - 16:50
The World Snow Day Report 2013 is here – 24 April 2013 - 21:46
TV-broadcast from Bysprinten! – 26 April 2013 - 17:26
Trofeo Mezzalama postponed until between 2nd and 5th May – 26 April 2013 - 18:26

Previous:
Alexis Pinturault - a true Raising Ski Star! – 09 April 2013 - 15:59
Atomic Waymaker - Taking ski touring to a whole new level! – 08 April 2013 - 19:57
Marit Bjoergen the Queen of Nordic Skiing – 08 April 2013 - 08:56
Walter Hubmann is the new Swiss-Ski World Cup coach responsible for the speed racers – 05 April 2013 - 17:40
Kozisek is crowned king of Red Bull NordiX 2013 – 04 April 2013 - 18:06

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