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Countdown to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Shiffrin Grabs Victory Number 70, Leads Four into Top 25

By Megan Harrod
October, 23 2021

On a sunny, bluebird day on the Rettenbach glacier with perfect conditions, two-time Olympic champion and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin notched her career-70th World Cup victory to lead four women into the top 25 in the Olympic season opener—the best U.S. Ski Team women’s giant slalom results in this era. 

On a first-run course set by coach Mike Day, with the best conditions this crew has seen in a while, the U.S. crew ripped, with Shiffrin in second by a mere .02 seconds, followed by teammate Nina O’Brien in 11th, AJ Hurt in 18th, and Paula Moltzan in 27th. Switzerland’s Lara Gut showed the world that, as a veteran, she remains one of the fastest giant slalom skiers on the planet, sneaking in front of Shiffrin by a hair. Austria’s Steph Brunner sat in third, .54 off the pace. 

During the second run, the athletes put on quite the show for the 9,000+ spectators in the venue, and the millions of those watching across the world. Having had the second-fastest time in the first run, Shiffrin was running 29th. She came down with a healthy lead of 1.3 seconds over Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova, but Gut was yet to come. Gut skied a near-perfect run, with fast splits all the way down, but in the end, Shiffrin bested her by .14 seconds.

This victory was an emotional one for Shiffrin, who lost her father during the 2019-20 season and struggled to find her normal acute focus and drive during the 2021-22 season. Overcome with emotion as she stood atop the podium, Shiffrin looked relieved...perhaps not because she proved to the world that she still had what it takes to win, but she proved to herself that she has what it takes.
 


A solid prep period in the offseason coupled with teammates that have been pushing the pace was a recipe for success for Shiffrin. “My teammates are pushing the pace really high, so I’m pushing too, so it’s been a really good build-up and a great way to start the season,” she reflected. “It’s so cool. Like I said, the last two weeks we’ve all been pushing each other, and I see them skiing and think, ‘I have to keep raising my level too, because you’re here and you’re hungry...and everybody’s hungry, and I feel that motivation. It’s so amazing to have the pace coming from the United States. That’s...special. I’ve never experienced that, in this way, in my career so far...so it’s really cool.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nina O'Brien (@nina_obrien)


O’Brien, who finished in a career-best ninth place, was happy to be racing again, yet is hungry for more. “It felt great to be racing again, I don’t think we could have asked for a better day...unbelievable snow, clear skies all day, and it feels so good to have the crowd back. For me, personally, I was really nervous before the first run, so it’s definitely a relief to have one race done. I showed some good skiing, I feel like I have a little more...but all in all I’m satisfied. Teammates AJ Hurt and Paula Moltzan both finished in the top 25 as well, in 20th and 23rd, respectively. It was a great start for this relatively young squad in the first Olympic qualifying event of the season. 

Keely Cashman, who was returning to the World Cup start gate for the first time in 10 months, after sustaining a minor MCL strain, hematoma in both hips, and a temporary loss of feeling in her foot from bruising from a super-G training crash at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, did not qualify for a second run...but she did overcome some demons by sending it down the Rettenbach glacier track. 

On the men’s side, veteran and 2020 Bormio World Cup super-G victor Ryan Cochran-Siegle, who suffered from a minor broken neck,” as he stated on his Instagram, will be returning to competition for the first time since his crash on the Hahnenkamm at Kitzbuehel, Austria. Cochran-Siegle will lead a promising group of up-and-comers, including River Radamus, Bridger Gile, George Steffey, and the former University of New Hampshire Wildcat Patrick Kenney—who will get his inaugural World Cup start. 

As far as viewing goes, fans have two options. NBC’s Peacock will once again be streaming the event live and it will be available on-demand, and the races will also be offered free of charge with English commentary at Skiworldcuplive.

WOMEN’S RESULTS
Giant Slalom

MEN’S STARTERS
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Bridger Gile
Patrick Kenney*
River Radamus
George Steffey

*First World Cup start

HOW TO WATCH

Sunday, Oct. 24
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
4:00 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 1 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Peacock
7:30 a.m. FIS Alpine World Cup Men's GS - run 2 LIVE, Sölden, AUT, Streaming Ski World Cup Live

Sport-specific broadcast and streaming schedules are available below:

Broadcast and streaming schedules on Peacock Premium will be updated on a weekly basis throughout the season.