Shiffrin breaks World Cup slalom wins record
Mikaela Shiffrin ended 2018 in style, becoming the most successful female slalom skier in World Cup history.
The 23-year-old was tied with her childhood idol Marlies Schild on 35 World Cup slalom wins after last weekend's success in Courchevel.
And on Saturday in Semmering, Austria - less than 100km east of Schild's birthplace - Shiffrin secured another convincing victory for slalom triumph number 36.
She also became the first alpine skier to claim 15 World Cup wins in a calendar year.
"It's a little bit unbelievable, in every meaning of the word." - Mikaela Shiffrin on her 2018
Shiffrin surges to victory
Shiffrin was only fifth in Friday's giant slalom as Petra Vlhova prevailed in a World Cup GS for the first time.
The Slovak skier, wearing start bib 4, beat Olympic slalom champion Frida Hansdotter by five-hundredths of a second to take the lead on the first run with a time of 50.12.
Shiffrin was next to go and flew down in 49.64 seconds, the only skier to break 50 seconds, to take a healthy advantage of 0.48 into the second run.
Wendy Holdener, fourth at halfway, set the target with a fine second run.
And the Swiss was guaranteed a podium place when Hansdotter slid out near the top of her second descent.
Vlhova then went into the lead by just nine-hundredths.
Only Shiffrin could deny her a second win in 24 hours, and the American produced the goods yet again.
After skiing superbly in the midsection of the course, the two-time defending World Cup overall champion lost a bit of time at the bottom but it mattered not.
Shiffrin won by 0.29 seconds for her 51st World Cup win.
Carrying the torch
On breaking Schild's record, Shiffrin said, "She is my biggest idol beside Bode Miller. When I was young I wanted to be the best skier in the world. I was always watching Marlies, she was a legend.
"To me, she is the best slalom skier. I wouldn't be here without her. For me, she has this record for ever."
She went into more detail on a Facebook video posted a few hours after her success.
Shiffrin recounted that her first World Cup podium finish - third place at Lienz - came exactly seven years previously, in a race won by Schild.
And she admitted that she had tried to "carry the torch" after being inspired by Schild.