MARIBOR, Slovenia >> Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin won a women’s World Cup slalom Sunday despite skiing over a gate that was rolling down the course in her final run.
In light snowfall, the American was leading the field by 0.19 seconds when a gate that she had just passed correctly broke and flew down the hill. Shiffrin skied over it but managed to stay on the course.
She fell 0.09 off the lead due to the incident, but accelerated in the bottom section to take the win, 0.19 seconds ahead of Wendy Holdener of Switzerland. Frida Hansdotter of Sweden came 0.31 behind in third.
“I skied over it a couple of times. It just kept coming at me,” Shiffrin said in disbelief shortly after finishing.
It was the American’s 27th career win, which puts her level with Phil Mahre in third place among American skiers with most World Cup wins, behind Bode Miller (33) and Lindsey Vonn (76). She also equaled Swedish standout Ingemar Stenmark’s feat of 27 victories before turning 22. Only Annemarie Moser-Proell of Austria had more wins (41) at that age.
Shiffrin went back to winning ways in her favorite discipline, five days after she had failed to finish a slalom run for the first time in four years. At Tuesday’s race in Zagreb, Shiffrin straddled a gate early in her first run and saw a seven-race winning streak come to end.
Shiffrin already led Sunday’s race after the opening leg. In a clean run on the Radvanje course, she was 0.23 ahead of the competition at the final split time, but lost a few hundredths on the bottom section.
The two-time world champion held a 0.17-second lead over Holdener, with Hansdotter of Sweden 0.38 back in third. The top three held their positions in the final run.
Veronika Velez Zuzulova, who won the race where Shiffrin went out, led the American by 0.08 seconds at the second split time of her first run before the Slovak straddled a gate and did not finish.
Velez Zuzulova has become Shiffrin’s main rival for this season’s slalom title, and now trails the two-world champion by 110 points with three races remaining.
In one of her rare slalom starts, defending overall champion Lara Gut finished 4.27 behind Shiffrin and failed to qualify for the second run. The Swiss skier was preparing for a combined event next week, which includes a slalom run.
Shiffrin leads Gut by 305 points in the overall standings.
The women’s World Cup travels to Austria for a night slalom in Flachau on Tuesday, followed by a downhill and a combined event in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee at the weekend.