Mikaela Shiffrin: “It would be great to leave Andorra with four Crystal Globes”
The North American has already sealed the victory of the World Cup Slalom and the overall classification, and the Giant Slalom and Super-G are also within reach
The current number 1 already visited the Principality back in 2012 and is happy to be back, describing it as an “extraordinary place”
Her aim is to bring women’s skiing “to another level” and show “how special this sport is”
The current number 1 in Alpine skiing, Mikaela Shiffrin, winner of the last two World Cups, is set to make history this season with Andorra as her stage. The North American has already sealed a victory in the Slalom and the overall classification in the competition, and has the Giant Slalom and Super-G at her fingertips. Shiffrin is not giving up on any of them. In an exclusive interview she gave in Grandvalira, she told us that “it would be great to leave Andorra with four Crystal Globes,” an opportunity that would be “one of my wildest dreams,” she added.
A full 32 points ahead of the second skier in the classification, Tina Weirather from Liechtenstein, this Thursday she will find out if her dream has a chance of coming true when the Àliga slope hosts the Super-G, a speed discipline in which she’s no specialist but which she has a good command of. Having a chance at winning the Super-G is “an extra” she admitted to us, and a surprise that “I wasn’t counting on” at the start of the season. As the pressure is off she assured us that she’s going to enjoy it.
Instead, Shiffrin wants to “focus” on the Giant Slalom, a discipline which she currently leads by 97 points (second in the classification is Slovenia’s Petra Vlhová) and which takes place on Sunday on the Avet de Soldeu slope. She is confident that she can do it as she’s at her best moment in the season. “I’m very happy, feeling energetic,” she added.
Until it’s time to compete, from where she’s staying she says “I look through the window and gaze at the Avet,” a slope that “looks really good,” and seems to be “calling” her, particularly the part with the steep slope at the end.
Andorra, an “extraordinary” country
Shiffrin, who will be 24 on Wednesday, remembers that she competed in Andorra for the first time in 2012 during the World Cup, in the Giant Slalom and Slalom categories. And again in 2016. She’s really happy to be back. “I have great memories” of this country, she confessed, describing it as an “extraordinary place and interesting to visit.”
Seven years later, the world has changed. The American comes back to the Principality as undeniably the best skier in the world, and she “has no words” to express her feelings. Shiffrin has become the first skier (male or female) to win 15 World Cup races in one season. “I never expected it” and she struggles to realise “that it’s real.” And the record was not a priority, because what she strives for every day is “to be the best skier in the world.” In fact, she has the third highest number of wins in the history of the women's competition.
Asked about her future after the Finals of the World Cup in Grandvalira, she said that she has not lost any of her motivation to continue to improve her skiing and win races. But to do that, the secret is “to ski the best I can.” From there, “it's when I enjoy myself” and “results will follow.”
Shiffrin has ambitions for the whole of women's skiing. She does not know her own limits or “this sport’s limits.” And she say her “principal aim” from now will be to carry on winning to “bring ski-racing to a new level” and to show the world “how special this sport is.”
Ending the interview, the skier thanked her supporters and thanked her team for their work to make everything she is doing possible. When the Finals are over, she will spend a few days in Barcelona; then she's off to New York to finally enjoy some holiday time with her family before getting back to training and starting a new season to continue to make history.