On February 4, 2019, the FIS Alpine World Championships started off in Åre, Sweden with the women’s super-G and finished on Feb. 17 with the men’s slalom. Throughout the twelve events, Team USA would win a total of four medals, three of which were won by Mikaela Shiffrin, including two golds.
Shiffrin Wins First World Championship Super-G
Mikaela Shiffrin started off the 2019 World Championships in Åre with a bang, winning the first event of the Championships. In the same race, Lindsey Vonn failed to finish the course with a terrifying crash she was able to ski away from with a black eye.
On the men’s side, Italian Dominik Paris took the gold while American Steven Nyman finished in a three-way tie for 8th.
Vonn Takes Third in Final Downhill
The incredible Lindsey Vonn raced the final downhill of her professional career in Åre, and ended her career on a high note by finishing on the podium in third place behind Slovenia’s Ilka Stuhec and Switzerland’s Corinne Suter.
“I laid it all on the line, that’s all I wanted to do today,” Vonn told NBC after she finished. “I have to admit I was a bit nervous, probably the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life. I just wanted to finish strong so badly. I had a really hard time controlling my nerves and I never have a hard time with that, so, I’m just happy I made it to the finish.”
In the men’s downhill, Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal also finished on the podium of the final downhill of his professional career, finishing second behind fellow Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud. American Bryce Bennett finished in the top 10, ending the day in 9th place.
Alpine Combined and Team Events
Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener and France’s Alexis Pinturault won the World Championship Alpine Combined races. Bennett finished 11th, and American Alice Merryweather was the fastest American female, finishing 18th.
Switzerland won the Team Event in Åre, beating Austria in the big final. Italy took bronze by beating Germany in the small final. The Americans did not enter a team in this event.
Vlhova, Kristoffersen Win Giant Slalom
The women and men raced down the giant slalom course under the lights in Åre. On the women’s side, Slovakian Petra Vlhova reigned supreme, winning gold by finishing 0.14 seconds ahead of Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg. Shiffrin won her second medal of the 2019 World Championship with a third-place finish.
On the men’s side, Norway’s Henrik Kristofferson finally found himself on top of the podium in the 2018/2019 racing season. Kirstoffersen has finished on the podium in nearly every slalom and giant slalom event this year, but never on the top spot until Åre. Austrian Marcel Hirscher took second, and Alpine Combined champ Pinturault earned his second medal of the World Championships with bronze. Ted Ligety was the fastest American, finishing in 11th overall.
Shiffrin Wins Historic Fourth Consecutive World Championship Slalom
American Mikaela Shiffrin made history yet again in Saturday’s World Championship slalom. Despite suffering from a chest infection that left her short of breath while skiing, Shiffrin dug deep after her first run that landed her in third place to ski her way to the top of the podium and clinch her third medal of the 2019 World Championships, and her fourth consecutive World Championships slalom title. Shiffrin became the first racer in history—male or female—to defend a World Championship title in four successive World Championships.
Shiffrin was joined on the podium by Sweden’s own Anna Swenn Larsson, who finished in second, and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, in third.
Shiffrin told media after the race that due to her chest cold she struggled for air during Saturday’s races. “My whole team was around me all day and helping to make sure I was drinking…resting…and not wasting energy,” she told U.S. Ski and Snowboard.
“I knew I had to fight really hard the second run because Anna and Wendy are too strong, and the girls who were behind me were also really close,” Shiffrin added.
Fellow Atomic athlete and men’s reigning Slalom World Champion Marcel Hirscher also successfully defended his 2017 title in Sunday’s concluding World Championship race. Fellow Austrians Michael Matt and Marco Schwarz completed the Austrian sweep of the podium.