Shiffrin misses out in super-G, still chasing 86th victory

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United States' Mikaela Shiffrin speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup Super G race in Kvitfjell, Norway, Friday, March 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Marco Trovati)

KVITFJELLMikaela Shiffrin 's hunt for a record-tying 86th career victory was extended for at least another day.

The American skier's quest for a fifth overall World Cup title, too.

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Shiffrin finished in fourth place Friday in a super-G that was won by Cornelia Huetter, who finally gave the Austrian women's team its first victory of the season.

Shiffrin was the ninth starter and trailed then-leader Elena Curtoni of Italy by 0.15 seconds and Lara Gut-Behrami of Switzerland by 0.04. Huetter eventually edged Curtoni by a mere 0.01 seconds.

Shiffrin needs one victory to match Ingemar Stenmark ’s victory total on the all-time list. The Swede competed in the 1970s and 80s.

“I felt very good with my skiing,” Shiffrin said. “I will look at the video and see if I can analyze something. Maybe I can squeeze a little bit more speed out of it but I am not going to go overboard anywhere, because it can also backfire."

Shiffrin's next race is a downhill on Saturday. The event in Norway ends with another super-G on Sunday.

“I felt very solid with my skiing and I just try to take that into the next days,” said Shiffrin, who previously missed a chance to tie the record when she finished runner-up in a slalom in the Czech Republic in January.

“I don’t have a problem talking about (the record). I know what’s possible," Shiffrin said. "I have to do a good race just like everybody else. If I want to win then I have to do better than everybody else.”

Shiffrin broke a tie on the all-time women’s win list with former American teammate Lindsey Vonn in January. Vonn had 82 wins when she retired in 2019.

Finishing behind Gut-Behrami left Shiffrin also waiting for her fifth overall World Cup title. Shiffrin leads her last remaining challenger by 761 points with eight races left.

The American was the fastest starter and led Curtoni by 0.37 seconds at the first intermediate time. Without making apparent mistakes, however, the American lost just over a tenth of a second at each following split.

Shiffrin smiled and briefly waved at spectators after her run.

“It's actually so fun to ski. This track is amazing,” Shiffrin said. “The surface is breaking a little bit. So I feel quite lucky that, for the draw, I was in a pretty good spot with my bib. I could push everywhere.”

The race took place in sunny conditions on the Olympiabakken course, which hosted women's races for the first time in 20 years. The resort, where the speed events were held at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, is an annual stop on the men’s World Cup circuit.

Shiffrin won silver in super-G at the world championships last month, and Huetter took the bronze. World champion Marta Bassino left Kvitfjell on Thursday and traveled back to Italy for family reasons.

Huetter posted only the 18th-fastest time at the first split but found more speed through the shady middle parts of the course and mastered the finishing section.

“For sure, the luck was on my side, but I think I was also skiing very well,” the Austrian said about her small winning margin. “It’s really amazing. It's really nice to come into the finish and have a green light. But I had mixed feelings through my run. I think it was a good combination of aggressive skiing and also having the feeling in the turns.”

Huetter's fourth career victory made her the sixth different winner in as many super-G races this World Cup season, joining Shiffrin, Gut-Behrami, Corinne Suter, Federica Brignone and Ragnhild Mowinckel.

Curtoni has not yet won a race but still went to the top of the discipline standings.

“Red bib, pink bib, blue bib, it doesn't matter to me. Right now I’m not interested in the color of the bib, we’ll see at the end," said Curtoni, adding that losing the race by one-hundredth was “somewhat bitter.”

“But that's OK because I managed to trust my instincts and that’s how you manage to be fast,” she said.

Sofia Goggia, Curtoni's teammate, narrowly avoided a crash when she lost balance on a jump halfway through her run and missed the next gate.

Goggia led the final downhill training on Thursday after Shiffrin was fastest in the first session the day before. Goggia, the 2018 Olympic champion, could wrap up the season-long downhill title Saturday for a third time in a row and a fourth time overall.


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