CORTINA D’AMPEZZO: Mikaela Shiffrin warned she wants to prove that her maiden World Cup downhill win in Lake Louise was no fluke as she challenges speed queen Lindsey Vonn in Saturday’s second downhill at Cortina d’Ampezzo.
Shiffrin has 41 World Cup wins – 30 in the slalom – but just one in the blue riband downhill event achieved last month in the Canadian Rockies.
The 22-year-old – competing for the first time in the downhill in Cortina – finished on the podium Friday behind Italy’s Sofia Goggia and fellow American Vonn, who paid for a mistake in her run.
“The downhill in South Korea is on my radar after Lake Louise. It’s important to feel it wasn’t a fluke,” said Shiffrin.
“I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know how South Korea is going to go but it’s a really good sign.”
Shiffrin has won 10 races this season putting her massive 871 points clear at the top of the overall standings, and second in the downhill behind Goggia.
She got off to a slow start, trailing in 13th in the first downhill training run in the Italian Dolomites this week, but moved up to fifth in the second training run before her third in the race.
“After the first training run I thought oh-oh, I’m going to have to rethink this,” said Shiffrin.
“I learned a lot, to be aggressive and I can use that tomorrow,” she added.
Vonn’s ‘tough winter’
By contrast, Vonn – the holder of 78 World Cup wins including 39 in the downhill – concedes it has “been a tough winter” with just one win in the Super G in Val d’Isere, France.
“Lake Louise I don’t give a shit about that, everything is leading to February, so all is well in the world,” said the 2010 Olympic downhill gold medallist.
“For me good to get a good result to build my confidence and get a good result going into the Olympics,” she continued.
“It’s a great weekend for me to really set the stage for February.
“I feel better. I had a couple of weeks there when my knee wasn’t doing that well, been doing more of everything and it’s paying off.”
Goggia meanwhile is looking for her third straight downhill win after her success at Bad Kleinkirchheim in Austria last week.
“I love Cortina it’s my favourite slope, favourite slope,” said Goggia who knows she faces a tough challenge from the US skiers.
“(Shiffrin) She’s won 40 races me just four. Just like Lindsey, these are really phenomenal American girls.
“I will never be as solid as her (Shiffrin) technically but I think I have other things and more in speed.
“She (Vonn) made me dream in Vancouver. I wish one day I can achieve what she has. It’s an honour to race against her.
“It’s pure rivalry (with Vonn). We laugh together, this is what sports needs.”