Mikaela Shiffrin nears ‘perfection’ with 40th World Cup victory

Who can stop Mikaela Shiffrin?

The blunt answer to that question, at the moment, is no one as the American skier continues to blow away all opposition on the slopes.

With wins in both the giant slalom and slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia over the weekend, Shiffrin clocked up her 39th and 40th World Cup wins — and she’s still only 22.

Compatriot Lindsey Vonn holds the all-time titles record for women with 78 — the most recent of those wins coming at a Super-G event at Val-d’Isere, France in December.

Shiffrin’s back-to-back wins saw her maintain an unbeaten record in 2018 and become an even hotter favorite for both those Olympic titles — she will be defending her slalom crown — when the Winter Games gets underway in PyeongChang, South Korea, next month.

It wasn’t just victory that drew the eye in Sunday’s slalom event, it was the manner in which she achieved it.

Shiffrin set a blistering pace on her first run, clocking at time of 51.44 seconds — almost 1.50 seconds faster than her nearest rival Frida Hansdotter of Sweden.

With the cushion of a huge lead, Shiffrin’s eased off slightly for her second run but she still managed to extend her overall winning margin to 1.64 seconds over Hansdotter with Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener taking third place.

“My first run was really really good and my second run was really good too,” Shiffrin told reporters.

“I felt so clean and aggressive on the first run. I don’t know if a perfect run is even possible but it was very close,” the American added.

Shiffrin’s double means she has now won nine times this season (four slalom, two giant slalom, a parallel slalom, the Oslo city event and one downhill race) and currently leads the World Cup Overall standings from Holdener by a colossal 721 points — the American has 1281 points while the Swede has 560.)

Hirscher completes slalom double

Austria’s Marcel Hirscher also proved unbeatable at the same events in Adelboden, Switzerland.

The Austrian edged out compatriot Michael Matt by 0.13 seconds to clinch his fourth World Cup slalom victory in a row and the 52nd of his career.

Victory capped a perfect weekend for Hirscher who won the giant slalom on Saturday beating Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen.

Hirscher’s wins means he now leads the Overall Men’s World Cup standings by 154 points from Kristoffersen.