ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t even need to step into the starting gate at World Cup Finals to wrap up her first overall title.
No time for any sort of coronation, though. There’s still some competition left and she’s intent on putting on a show — just like she has all season.
Shiffrin secured the season-long title after Ilka Stuhec and her coach said the Slovenian skier won’t compete in the slalom. Stuhec’s wasn’t listed among the racers on the board Friday night.
The 22-year-old Shiffrin will join quite an elite group in Phil Mahre, Tamara McKinney, Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn as the only American overall World Cup champions.
“It’s crazy what she has achieved. Unbelievable,” her manager, Kilian Albrecht, said. “I’ve never seen anyone be so focused.”
Citing exhaustion, Stuhec said Friday at the team event she will skip the slalom race to prepare for Sunday’s giant slalom. Her private coach, Grega Kostomaj, confirmed Stuhec’s decision.
Shiffrin already held a nearly insurmountable 198-point lead over Stuhec with two races left — a slalom today and a giant slalom Sunday. Stuhec made a nice run at finals, winning the downhill and taking second in the super-G, to keep the competition close.
Hold anything back now?
That’s not Shiffrin’s style.
“I want to have a really good performance the last two races, because it’s in Aspen and so close to home, my home-state crowd,” Shiffrin recently said.
This sort of season doesn’t come as a surprise to Shiffrin. She sets her ambitions high on purpose.
“I’m the person that says I want to be the very best in the world. I want to win five gold medals at the Olympics,” Shiffrin said. “It’s probably not going to happen. I’m OK with that. But at least I’m not afraid to say it.”