Battling poor visibility, Mikaela Shiffrin takes third in Kuehtai in Tirol, Austria. (Getty Images/AFP-Joe Klamar)
KUEHTAI IN TIROL, Austria (Dec. 28, 2014)—Mikaela Shiffrin (Eagle-Vail, CO) stood on the podium for the first time since her win in Soelden, Austria. Shiffrin won the first run at Sunday's Audi FIS Ski World Cup giant slalom, but battled rough conditions and poor visibility to take third place overall. Sara Hector of Sweden won her first World Cup, and Austria’s Anna Fenninger was second.
After a brief holiday break, the women were back in action in Kuehtai in Tirol, Austria—a venue switch from Semmering due to snow conditions. With a straight-set second run, the course resembled a super G more than a giant slalom, not Shiffrin’s specialty. She held back a little on the run, missing first place by .18.
Shiffrin stands in the finish after second run with Hector and Fenninger. (Getty Images-AFP/Joe Klamar)
“The leader spot sometimes makes me nervous, especially with all of the racers so close,” said Shiffrin after her first run. “Today I’m trying to have fun and not think about winning.”
Although she didn’t take the victory, Shiffrin was still excited to be on the podium, standing with a big smile next to the other girls in the finish.
Megan McJames (Park City, UT), the only other U.S. woman starter, did not qualify for second run.
Shiffrin will be back on Monday, hunting for the slalom win in Kuehtai in Tirol. The tech women then break until Jan. 4, when they head to Zagreb, Croatia. Universal Sports Network will re-air coverage from Kuehtai Sunday at 3:30 and 9:30 p.m. EST.
Shiffrin sits in fifth place in the overall Audi FIS Ski World Cup standings and second in the GS standings.
It was her first podium since her win in Soelden, Austria in October.
QUOTES Mikaela Shiffrin It was really great competition. It was really tough the first run and second run was even harder. I’m really glad I could hang on to the podium in the conditions, knowing that I tend to back off when it gets like that. I’m learning to keep charging.
I’m always happy to have a podium. I skied to my potential today. I’m getting closer with my GS, more confident.
Sara [Hector]’s victory was so incredible. She must have skied so well. I like the way she skis and it’s great to see her get her first win so young. It’s a tough race and I respect her.
I’m OK with third place. Right now, I’m working hard to get to a point where I’m comfortable with my skiing. I’m trying to have fun and enjoy being in the start gate, instead of being so nervous.
I don’t have expectations for tomorrow’s [slalom] race. I just want to smile the whole day and have as much fun as I can. I don’t want to be focused on winning or results, but just skiing my best. There are a lot of girls who could take it. Hopefully I’m among them!