Mikaela Shiffrin won the gold medal in the women’s giant slalom on Thursday to become the most successful skier in the modern history of the Alpine world championships.
The 27-year-old American overcame a mistake near the end of the race to hold on to her first-run lead to beat Italian skier Federica Brignone by 0.12 seconds. Ragnhild Mowinckel of Norway finished 0.22sec behind and took bronze.
“That’s unbelievable,” Shiffrin said in a course-side interview. “I was so nervous, my God. Just … I can’t believe it.”
It is Shiffrin’s seventh world title and 13th medal overall from 16 career world championship races. Germany’s Christl Cranz has the most medals in any era with 15. However, she raced in the 1930s when the championships were held every year, rather than the modern biennial schedule. Shiffrin was the 2018 Olympic champion and won five of the last six giant slaloms on the World Cup circuit.
The victory makes her only the fourth female skier to win world titles in four different disciplines.
“This is not an easy position, with the home crowd favorite to … I mean, thank you for cheering for me anyway,” Shiffrin said.
Shiffrin’s victory came a day after an unexpected split with longtime coach Mike Day. Day left the team during the middle of the world championships after Shiffrin informed him that she planned to take a new direction with her staff at the end of the season.
Shiffrin didn’t finish her opening event at the worlds last week when she straddled a gate in the slalom portion of the combined. She won silver in the super-G two days later.
Shiffrin is competing in her first major event since not winning a medal in six starts at last year’s Beijing Olympics. Her last race at the worlds is the slalom Saturday.
Shiffrin is also in the middle of a record-breaking season on the World Cup circuit, having eclipsed Lindsey Vonn’s record of 82 World Cup wins among women and moved within one victory of Ingemar Stenmark’s overall total of 86 wins.