Mikaela Shiffrin wins historic third straight world slalom title

She wore bib No. 1 in a huge field of 126 competitors, and Colorado's 21-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin certainly left no doubt about who was No. 1 today on the Suvretta run at St. Moritz, Switz.

Sweden's Frida Hansdotter rounded out the podium, taking third with her time of 1:39.02.

The last female skier to bag three consecutive slalom crowns was Germany's Christel Cranz, but that was back in 1937-39 when the world championships were much smaller, equipment used was nowhere near as cutting edge as it is today, and course-setting and preparation were not almost as taxing as modern skiers face.

In St. Moritz Saturday, Shiffrin became the first woman since Germany's Christl Cranz back in 1939 to win three slalom World Championship golds in a row.

"I thought 'I think that was good but I don't know where the time is (on the screen),'" Shiffrin told Swiss broadcaster SRF. Winning the second run by 1.26 seconds was a margin that was shocking to the ski world.

Her gold medal streak in slalom now includes each world championships she entered, and her only Winter Olympics.

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She seemed to gain strength and maturity this season by improving in other disciplines, mainly giant slalom, and has moved into commanding position for her first World Cup overall championship.

She said: "There have been lots of challenges but lots of fantastic days, today was a really good day so I'm happy".

"First run I felt like I left something out on the hill, second run I really felt like I attacked", said Shiffrin, who was eighth in GS in 2015 at Beaver Creek, and sixth in Schladming, Austria in 2013. "She had such a big lead after the first run that I knew it would be tough to top".

Shiffrin, the two-time defending slalom World Champion, is now focused on Saturday's slalom, the final event of the 2017 World Championships.

In explosive fashion under a bright blue sky and skiing on a rock-hard course, Shiffrin became the first skier in 78 years to win three consecutive World Championship slalom titles. "I was thinking, 'Oh that's cool, (Wendy) must be happy, but today is my day, not yours'".

It was actually really good for the second run. She joined Park City's Ted Ligety as the only American skiers to win three straight world titles, according to the U.S. Ski Team.

  • Michelle Webb