Shiffrin defends world slalom crown

Sat Feb 14, 2015 6:52pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado (Reuters) - Mikaela Shiffrin soaked up the pressure and defended her alpine ski world championship slalom crown in thrilling style on Saturday to give the United States a golden finish to the women's competition.

First after the opening leg, American darling Shiffrin trailed midway through her second trip down the Golden Eagle track before turning on the after-burners and blazing across the finish line in a combined time of one minute, 38.48 seconds.

Thunderous roars echoed across the sun-kissed slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain and U.S. flags waved from the packed grandstand as the 19-year-old added a second world title to her Olympic crown in the slalom.

"It was a really big day and tough competition, especially that second run," an emotional Shiffrin told reporters after becoming the third woman, after Christel Cranz (1938, 1939) and Janica Kostelic (2003, 2005), to retain the slalom world title.

"It was a little bit faster, the course, and everybody wanted it. I'm really happy to come out on top but I really had to pull it out at the very end.

"It's always a relief to come down and know I did a good job," said Shiffrin, who showed no sign of celebration after crossing the line.

"It's just putting all my energy out on the course, I don't have energy to celebrate."

Sweden's Frida Hansdotter, whose afternoon run was 0.06 seconds faster than Shiffrin's, claimed silver, 0.34 seconds back, with Czech Sarka Strachova, who had surgery for a brain tumor in 2012, taking the bronze.   Continued...

Feb 14, 2015; Beaver Creek, CO, USA; Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States celebrates with an American flag at the flower ceremony after the  women's slalom in the FIS alpine skiing world championships at Raptor Racecourse. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports