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Mikaela Shiffrin becomes winningest female alpine skier in history

Based on the countless records she has set, professional ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin’s name will have a place in the record books forever. Shiffrin was born in Vail, Colorado, the epicenter of ski country in the US. Having parents who were avid skiers from the Northeast, the importance of skiing was instilled in Mikaela from a very young age. Unsurprisingly, she started skiing at age two. When Mikaela was eight, the Shiffrin family moved to Lyme, New Hampshire so her father, Jeff, could pursue a job working as an anesthesiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. While spending the latter part of their childhood in the Northeast, Mikaela and her older brother Taylor attended Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, Vermont. Burke is a private boarding school specializing in rigorous academics and elite skiing. After completing most of her high school education at Burke, Mikaela’s skiing had improved to a level far beyond her high school competitors. Skiing at the level she was, Mikaela had qualified for the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) World Cup circuit. The age cutoff was 15 years old, allowing Mikaela entry. Her world cup debut race took place two days before her 16th birthday in 2011, at a competition in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic. Ever since then, Shiffrin has been skiing on the World Cup circuit for almost 12 years now. Shiffrin had a successful start to her professional skiing career and only improved from there.


Now, Mikaela is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a four-time overall World Cup champion. In the slalom, she is a four-time world champion and a six-time winner of the World Cup discipline title in that event. Shiffrin has also won in all six World Cup disciplines: downhill, super-G, slalom, giant slalom, combined and parallel. 


Adding onto her record-breaking career, Shiffrin captured her 83rd World Cup win on Tuesday, Jan. 24, surpassing Lindsey Vonn’s record of most wins by a female alpine skier ever (82). Shiffrin followed her successful day on Tuesday with another win on Sunday, Jan. 28. Now, after this past week of competition, Shiffrin is the winningest female alpine ski racer in history, currently sitting with 85 total World Cup wins. Shiffrin is now two wins away from being the winningest alpine ski racer, male or female, in history. Swedish skier Ingemar Stenmark currently holds the most World Cup wins ever with 86. 


In the record-breaking giant slalom race on Tuesday, Shiffrin was in first place after the first run. The podium featured Mikaela and two fellow Olympic medalists: the Swiss Lara Gut-Behrami who trailed 0.13 of a second behind Shiffrin, and the Italian Federica Brignone, who trailed by 0.27 of a second. Neither ski racer was able to capitalize on their final run to capture the win, allowing Shiffrin to remain in the first place position. Mikaela was the last run of the competition and certainly did not disappoint. Her second and final run of the competition put her ahead of second place by a large margin of 0.45 seconds. Shiffrin is currently on pace to surpass her 17 victories during the 2018-2019 season. 


In terms of Mikaela’s life and popularity outside of skiing, she has received significant attention from the media in the past years. This is not only due to her outstanding ski racing, but also to the tragic passing of her father and her uncharacteristic races at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. This attention has let the world get to know Mikaela on a deeper level than just her extraordinary athleticism. Her empowering and optimistic voice has been ever-present in the world of mental health and sports advocacy. 


Mikaela’s next races will be held from Feb. 6 to Feb. 19 at Courchevel Méribel, located in the French Alps. Watch as she attempts to claim two more wins and become the winningest alpine skier in history.

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