Seventeen-year-old Shiffrin wins slalom gold

Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:21am EST
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By Manuele Lang

SCHLADMING, Austria, Feb 16 (Reuters - Mikaela Shiffrin became one of Alpine skiing's youngest world champions when she won the women's slalom on Sunday at the age of 17 to continue an impressive performance by the United States.

Shiffrin, who has already won three slalom races on this season's World Cup circuit, was third fastest in the first run but then produced a typically aggressive performance in the second to take gold.

One month short of her 18th birthday, Shiffrin pipped Austria's Michaela Kirchgasser by 0.22 of a second to become the third youngest women's slalom world champion and deny the hosts a first individual gold medal.

The Austrians, who won four of the five individual women's golds in Garmish-Partenkirchen two years, had to be content with Kirchgasser's silver and bronzes for Anne Fenninger in the giant slalom and Nicole Hosp in super combined.

Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch, gold medal winner in the combined event last week, straddled a gate in the lower part of the course as she missed out, four years after her slalom gold at Val d'Isère.

Defending champion Marlies Schild, who badly injured her knee two months ago at Are, Sweden, exceeded expectations by finishing ninth, only after three weeks after returning to the snow.

Sweden's Frida Hansdotter, who led after the first run, was third.

"I can't believe what is happening to me here," Shiffrin told reporters at the finish line.   Continued...

First placed Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. reacts on the podium during the flower ceremony after the women's Slalom race at the World Alpine Skiing Championships in Schladming February 16, 2013. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich