World champ at 17: US teen Shiffrin rushes to gold

February 16, 2013 • National News

United States’ Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates winning the gold medal after the second run of the women’s slalom at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, Saturday, Feb.16,2013. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

SCHLADMING, Austria (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin might as well be dancing or flying.

That’s what skiing is like for the American teenager these days. The victories and milestones keep piling up, fortifying a U.S. team that is without Lindsey Vonn and Bode Miller.

A day after Ted Ligety became the first man to win three gold medals at a world championships in 45 years, Shiffrin became the youngest woman in 39 years to win the slalom title Saturday.

At the age of 17 years, 340 days, Shiffrin shook off a serious bout of nerves to edge local hope Michaela Kirchgasser from the lead before a crowd of 30,000 fans who were nearly all supporting the Austrian.

“Doing what I did on the hill today, especially in the second run, just skiing, is like dancing or flying,” Shiffrin said. “There’s so many ways that I can describe it. But it just is, and it works for me.

“It’s been 17 years in the making and everybody says that it comes do fast but it seems like it’s been forever for me. … I am just doing what I do and I don’t want to wait.”

The only slalom world champions younger than Shiffrin were Hanni Wenzel of Liechtenstein in 1974 and Esme Mackinnon of Britain in 1931. Overall, Shiffrin is the youngest women’s world champion since American Diann Roffe-Steinrotter, who was 21 days younger when she won the giant slalom title in 1985.

Shiffrin won her first three races this season to lead the World Cup slalom standings and set up big expectations for her first Login to read more

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