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Mikaela Shiffrin Has a Slalom Record, and, Finally, a Rival

“Sometimes it can get a little intense,” Shiffrin said on Friday. “At the start of the season, we’re excited to get started, and it’s very positive.”

She laughed.

“But as the season goes on, you get a little more tired, and you’re pushing every single day and every weekend. You keep pushing the intensity level, and that other person, and it seems like it’s always Petra, is there.

“I’m just like, ‘Can we just call a truce for a second, just throw up the white flag just for one minute, and let’s both just take a really good nap?’ And then let’s get back to it.

“Every now and then you want to say that.”

It did not stop Shiffrin, who is notably gracious to competitors even in defeat, from complimenting Vlhova, who changed coaches after last season.

“She looks right now like she’s very solid on her shoulders and not only with her skiing technique,” Shiffrin said. “Her team this year, the atmosphere they have going on, seems a lot more positive. It’s always hard to know what other people are doing or did in the past, but there seems to be a bit more smiling going on than I’ve seen the past.”

On Sunday, Shiffrin trailed Vlhova after the first run by two-tenths of a second. Skiing second-to-last in the second run, Shiffrin made a significant mistake near the top and nearly skied off course, but corrected herself and increased her speed thereafter, charging through the final 40 gates to not only make up the first-run deficit against Vlhova but to gain a sizable lead.

Skiing last, Vlhova stumbled when her ski tips almost crossed after about 10 gates. She made a nifty recovery but lost valuable momentum and appeared to lose her rhythm within the course. Or as she said afterward: “I don’t know exactly what happened. I lost balance with both skis and then I went almost out. I tried to push as much as I could.”

Apsny News English

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