History on hold: Shiffrin one World Cup win away from Vonn’s record

KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia — Mikaela Shiffrin’s pursuit of Lindsey Vonn’s women’s World Cup wins record will go on for at least another day.

Shiffrin finished tied for sixth in a giant slalom Saturday to end her winning streak at five races. She remained stuck on 81 career wins — one victory away from Vonn’s mark of 82.

Valerie Grenier of Canada won the race by a comfortable margin for her first career victory by posting the fastest time in both runs. Marta Bassino finished second, 0.37 behind, and Petra Vlhova completed the podium, 0.40 behind.

Shiffrin, who finished 1.33 back, could match Vonn in another giant slalom scheduled for the same course Sunday.

‘I don’t mind talking about it, and I’m not tired of it,’ Shiffrin said. ‘I’m just like, ‘It is what it is.’ Everybody is going to say, ‘You have the chance to win 82 races and equalize the record,’ every single race until I actually do it — if I do it.

‘So it kind of doesn’t make a difference. I still want to go out and do my best skiing every day. And today that was the best I could do. But maybe I can make some improvements for tomorrow.’

Shiffrin stood fifth after the opening run but had only the 18th-fastest second run.

‘The thing that stands out in my mind was just one turn. I went quite wide on this second run, but I don’t think that turn was what cost me so much,’ Shiffrin said. ‘So I have to look at the final pitch and also just think about what I can do to be more aggressive. But the most important thing is also just to get some energy back.’

Already with seven wins this season, Shiffrin is also quickly approaching Ingemar Stenmark’s overall record, in men’s or women’s competition, of 86 victories.

Vonn retired four years ago when injuries ended her pursuit of Stenmark’s record.

Grenier’s best finishes in her 89 previous World Cup races were fourth in this race last year and fourth in a super-G in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, in 2019.

Grenier won three medals — a gold, a silver and a bronze — at junior worlds between 2015 and 2016. But she broke the tibia and fibula bones in her lower right leg in 2019.

‘I had four breaks, and it just took a really long time to heal. So since the injury, I kind of focused more on giant slalom,’ she said. ‘I feel like finally everything is coming together and I’m finally skiing at my best.’

A Canadian woman hadn’t won a World Cup giant slalom since Kathy Kreiner in 1974, while Kreiner went on to also win the event at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics.

Canadian teammates mobbed Grenier in the finish area to celebrate.

While there were few, if any, Canadian or American fans lining the Podkoren 3 course near the Italian border, there were plenty of spectators waving Slovenian and Slovakian flags.

The upper section was foggy during the first run, but visibility improved for the second leg and snow conditions were decent.

American Nina O’Brien fell midway down in the first run but did not appear to be seriously injured.

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