Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
To anyone watching the women’s World Cup final super-G on Thursday, it didn’t look like Mikaela Shiffrin put down her most extraordinary skiing. And yet, the tech specialist crossed the finish line just .05 off the winning pace set by Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel to take second place and officially clinch her fourth overall World Cup title. And everything about that victory is extraordinary.
It’s extraordinary that Shiffrin, who was in the red most of the way down the super-G course, found .20 seconds between the final two gates to finish right behind Mowinckel and nearly win the race. It’s extraordinary that this second-place super-G finish comes a day after Shiffrin surprised the world by winning the final World Cup downhill—the first downhill she’s ever participated in at World Cup finals. It’s unbelievable that Shiffrin, who only held a 56-point lead over Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova in the battle for the overall title going into the World Cup finals, managed to send her season’s point tally beyond where Vlhova could reach it, after the first two finals races. And most extraordinary of all is that Shiffrin managed all of this just weeks after her disappointing performances at the Beijing Olympics and the media frenzy that followed.
Watch: Shiffrin’s World Cup Finals super-G run
“It’s been some high moments this season and it’s been some really difficult moments as well,” Shiffrin reflected after the super-G. “You know, this morning [it was like] anything can happen. And now my biggest goal for the season is secure. Ending [the season] on at least one of the goals I set for myself this season and finding some really nice moments in the last races is really important and special.”
With a fourth World Cup overall title to her name, Shiffrin now ties legend Lindsey Vonn as the most decorated American World Cup racer in terms of overall globes. This second-place super-G finish also marks Shiffrin’s 120th World Cup podium, and her 14th podium this season, making her the leading podium finisher on the women’s World Cup circuit in 2022.
So it bears remembering that when critics say Shiffrin is having a bad season, that’s relative—her “bad” seasons are still better than most.
Now that the overall title is secure, Shiffrin can rest easy and try to simply enjoy her final races of the 2022 season—the women’s slalom final on March 19 and giant slalom final on March 20. Vlhova, though she missed out on the overall title, secured the slalom title weeks ago, so that race has already been won in the grand scheme of things. The women’s GS title is still up for grabs, though Shiffrin is currently ranked third in that discipline, 51 points behind current leader Sarah Hector from Sweden and 46 points behind Tessa Worley from France. While the GS globe is not entirely out of reach for Shiffrin, her chances of overtaking both women are slim.
“We have two more races this season to hopefully ski well … and most importantly, just try to enjoy it,” she said. “It’s certainly not the conditions I normally love in either GS or slalom, but I think I can ski well if I’m working on the right things, so I can take it even as training days to practice how I perform in races on these conditions as well. So, that could be quite fun and could be something to enjoy.”
That’s Mikaela Shiffrin for you: always looking ahead.