Olympic Gold for Vail Mountain School graduate

After 25 rapid and nearly flawless turns, Vail Mountain School graduate Mikaela Shiffrin sped past the finish line to become the youngest Olympic slalom champion. She is the first American to win the event in 42 years.

“You can create your own miracle,” Shiffrin said when the gold medal was on a sash draped around her neck. “But you do it by never looking past all the little steps along the way.”

Shiffrin, with a winning time of 1 minute 44.54 seconds, was 0.53 of a second better than her childhood idol, Marlies Schild of Austria, who won the silver medal. Schild’s teammate Kathrin Zettel won the bronze.

In skiing circles, Shiffrin has been considered a prodigy — and called the Mozart of ski racing — since she was 12. Lately, she has been called the next Lindsey Vonn, a reference to the American Olympic champion of four years ago, who is sitting out the Sochi Games with a knee injury. If Friday’s outcome was a passing of the torch, it will be no surprise to most of the worldwide ski community.

“Mikaela is going to win many, many races; I’m sure this is only the beginning,” said Maria Höfl-Riesch, the defending Olympic slalom champion, who finished a whopping 1.19 seconds behind Shiffrin. “She is a tremendous skier for someone so very young and very mentally tough.”

ALPINE SKIING

Women’s Slalom

Time

 USA  Mikaela Shiffrin 1:44.54

 AUT  Marlies Schild 1:45.07

 AUT  Kathrin Zettel 1:45.35

Shiffrin is from a ski racing family that twice moved back and forth from Colorado to New England to help foster the ambitions of Mikaela and her older brother, Taylor. Friday’s performance was a validation of a distinctive homegrown approach.

See the Vail Mountain School page

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