Mikaela Shiffrin, who started for the first time since January, decided on Saturday for second place behind Petra Vlhova in a World Cup slalom, but still “felt good luck” to finally get back to get into the starting gate

“I’m enjoying a second place more than ever,” said Shiffrin, a winner of 66 World Cup races, “because I felt like I was pushing and having good skiing. It was the best I could do today I will be prouder than before ”

Vlhova, the slalom world champion from Slovakia, drove the fastest times in both races and beat the American with 018 seconds in Finnish Lapland north of the Arctic Circle

“It was really hard to imagine being here and racing again and being on the podium is something I almost couldn’t really imagine because you don’t want to be disappointed again,” said the double Olympic champion and three-time overall winner

Shiffrin’s previous season ended prematurely after the death of her father Jeff Shiffrin, which was followed by the cancellation of races at the end of the season during the coronavirus outbreak In October she suspended the first race of the new season in Austria due to a back injury

The 25-year-old Shiffrin had wondered if she wanted to continue her ski racing career, but after the race on Saturday she sounded optimistic

“I hope I can continue from here because I want to,” she said. “I was very happy skiing and racing today, I had fun and I felt like I was skiing really well After everything that happened, it’s really cool just going to ski races and getting a podium and getting a second place that is, wow! “

Vlhova drove the second run on a course set by her trainer Livio Magoni and won her fourth slalom victory in a row

“I tried to take advantage of the fact that my coach set the course and I did it,” said Vlhova. “It was not easy as it started to snow and the course was also a bit destroyed. But me I did it and I’m really happy. The first win in the first slalom of the season is always good “

Austrian Katharina Liensberger was 057 in third place, while the rest of the field, led by Swiss racing driver Wendy Holdener, was at least 1.35 from the lead

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Vlhova followed Shiffrin at 013 on the first split but was ahead of the American at all subsequent checkpoints before finishing 015 ahead

In the last run Vlhova initially extended her lead to 052, but lost more than three tenths when she failed to reach Shiffrin’s pace in the flat target area

“In the second run you start last and want to confirm your first run. This is pressure. It wasn’t a perfect run because I made some mistakes. But in the end it was green,” Vlhova said, referring to the color in which the lead times are displayed on a video wall in the target area

In a series that began in January 2017, the last 27 World Cup slaloms were won either by Shiffrin with 19 wins or by Vlhova

Vlhova won the slalom title of the season last year, 20 points ahead of Shiffrin after the American won him six times in the last seven seasons

“Nothing has changed, but everything has changed too,” said Shiffrin “But it’s really fun to be here and see everyone skiing It’s fun to see and for me it was fun”

Federica Brignone, who ended Shiffrin’s three-year tenure as the overall winner last season, was 161 behind after the opening run but failed to take second place and did not score any championship points

Italian teammate Marta Bassino, who won the season opener last month, finished in 18th place Place more than three seconds behind

Slalom specialist Anna Swenn Larsson missed the race when the entire Swedish team was quarantined after a COVID-19 test for one of his coaches turned out positive

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World news – FI – Mikaela Shiffrin takes second place on her return to the world championship

Source: https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-11-21/mikaela-shiffrin-takes-second-place-in-world-cup-return