Mikaela Shiffrin slaloms to World Cup record in Levi

The double Olympic champion overtakes Ingemar Stenmark for most World Cup slalom wins as Petra Vlhova crashes out.

Four reindeer. That's what Mikaela Shiffrin now has to her name after winning the FIS Ski World Cup slalom in Levi again.

It means the American has surpassed Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark for the record of most career World Cup slalom victories. This was Shiffrin's 41st such triumph; she broke the old women's mark of 35 in December 2018.

In the last six races in the Finnish stop on the circuit, the two-time Olympic champion has only missed out twice. The unique prize awarded to the winner each year means Shiffrin now has a growing herd of reindeer to look after.

Shiffrin's main slalom rival, Slovakia's Petra Vlhova, led after the first run but crashed out on her second. Switzerland's Wendy Holdener finished second, while Austrian Katharina Truppe scored her first career World Cup podium.

First win of season

This was the 24-year-old's first win this season, after being surprised in the season-opening giant slalom at Soelden by New Zealand teenager Alice Robinson.

Robinson is currently out injured, and did not make the start line in Levi.

The race was billed as a head-to-head between Shiffrin and Vlhova, the only woman to beat her in a slalom race last season.

Vlhova laid down a marker with a 58.65-second first run, 0.13s faster than the American.

Shiffrin's second run of 58.79 put her into the lead with only her Slovakian opponent left, but Vlhova committed an error early into her second attempt to hand an anti-climactic win to Shiffrin.

Holdener was 1.78 seconds behind the reigning World Cup crystal globe champion in second.

Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her fourth win in Levi with her newest reindeer. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)
Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her fourth win in Levi with her newest reindeer. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates her fourth win in Levi with her newest reindeer. (Photo by Christophe Pallot/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Personal grief

Shiffrin has had to deal with personal tragedy during the start of this World Cup season.

She lost her grandmother, Pauline Condron, a few days before her giant slalom defeat to Robinson in Soelden.

The next stop on the women's World Cup circuit is a giant slalom/slalom double on 30 November and 1 December in Killington, Vermont – a race Shiffrin's grandmother attended each year to watch her since it was added to the calendar in 2016.

"Killington is going to be interesting,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post.

“I don’t know what to expect. It was the first race she saw me compete in live. We’ll see. You might see me ugly cry. Or you might not, depending on how my compartmentalisation is going. Hopefully not. I don’t wish that on anyone.”

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• Pauline Mary Condron • August 5, 1921-October 22, 2019 • • • • • Do not stand at my grave and weep, 
I am not there, I do not sleep. 
I am in a thousand winds that blow, 
I am the softly falling snow. 
I am the gentle showers of rain, 
I am the fields of ripening grain. 
I am in the morning hush, 
I am in the graceful rush 
Of beautiful birds in circling flight, 
I am the starshine of the night. 
I am in the flowers that bloom, 
I am in a quiet room. 
I am in the birds that sing, 
I am in each lovely thing. 
Do not stand at my grave and cry, 
I am not there. I do not die. -Mary Elizabeth Frye • • • • • She sings with the Angels now. ❤️

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