Mikaela Shiffrin fails to finish first race at world championships

MERIBEL, France — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin missed what looked like a certain gold medal on Monday on the opening day of the World Championships as she skied out of the women’s combined race with the finish in sight.

Shiffrin straddled the third-to-last gate in her slalom run and appeared close to beating heat one leader and eventual winner Federica Brignone of Italy.

“It doesn’t happen often, no. I felt like I was skiing really well,” said Shiffrin, the race’s defending champion. “I had a really good run.”

Shiffrin competed in her first major event since failing to win a medal in six starts at the Beijing Olympics last year.

The American is having a stellar season in the World Cup, where she has won 11 races, including five slaloms, in 23 starts and appears on course to her fifth overall title – widely regarded as the most important prize in ski racing.

She won three races in six days two weeks ago to take her career tally to 85 World Cup wins. She beat former teammate Lindsey Vonn’s women’s record of 82 and moved within one of the overall records set by Swedish superstar Ingemar Stenmark in the 1970s and 80s.

World Championship races do not count towards World Cup victories.

Shiffrin was 0.96s behind Brignone after the Super-G portion of Monday’s race but had made up 0.88s of that difference in their slalom run before the end.

The combined discipline adds the results of a Super G run and a slalom run.

“The only option I have is to go flat out. So I did that, take the risk that you won’t finish,” Shiffrin said. “You have to do that if you want to win a medal at the World Championships. In the end it was like letting it go just one goal early and then you’re out.”

Shiffrin reacted with apparent astonishment before bending over her ski poles. Then she walked over to Brignone and hugged the Italian skier.

“Well, that’s disappointing, but it’s always pretty positive how I’ve skied,” said Shiffrin, whose next race at the Super-G World Championships is on Wednesday. “I still have some work to do to find out where I can make up some time in the Super-G. It’s so much fun to ski this hill, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Shiffrin has won six world titles and a total of 11 medals from 13 previous starts at world championships.

https://www.espn.com/olympics/skiing/story/_/id/35600381/mikaela-shiffrin-fails-finish-first-race-world-championships Mikaela Shiffrin fails to finish first race at world championships

Emma Bowman

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