Odermatt Continues Remarkable Run, Shiffrin Still Resting in Alpine Skiing

The Absence of Ski Queen Mikaela Shiffrin at the World Cup in Andorra Could Cost Her Lead Position

Two weeks after a significant fall during a downhill race in Italy, Mikaela Shiffrin – commonly referred to as the ski queen – is overlooking Soldeu in Andorra where the World Cup continues this weekend. Due to this, her leading status in the general classification could be in jeopardy.

On the men’s circuit, the Swiss ace Marco Odermatt has the potential for a continuous winning streak with an expected ninth consecutive victory in the giant slalom – his most favourable discipline in which he remains undefeated this winter.

Damaging her left knee during a descent in Cortina d’Ampezzo two weeks ago, Mikaela Shiffrin has spoken out that she is not yet recovered enough to return to the competition and will, therefore, not compete in Soldeu (Andorra), where both a giant slalom and slalom are scheduled for the weekend.

“Although I am recovering well and feeling better each day, I will not be skiing in Andorra this weekend,” the 28-year-old American, a five-time winner of the grand globe, announced on her social media. “I just need a bit more time to heal and get back in shape.”

While resting, Shiffrin retaliated against the International Ski Federation (FIS), criticising the frequency of races and the media and protocol duties, which she believed to be partially at fault for the notable severe falls this winter.

“The number of injuries this year is striking, particularly among the top athletes,” wrote the American. “I completely agree with those who have asked for better communication with athletes, whether it concerns the racing schedule or post-race programmes.”

Since winter’s onset, numerous athletes (Marco Schwarz, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, Alexis Pinturault among men, Petra Vlhova, and Sofia Goggia among women) have been forced to end their season prematurely.

“I firmly believe that exhaustion at this stage in the season plays a role in the recent injuries we’ve been seeing, including my own,” Shiffrin asserted.

After her fall, she missed two more scheduled races in Cortina and the giant slalom in Kronplatz two days later. This allowed her main competitor in the general classification, Lara Gut-Behrami, to close up the ranking gap to less than 100 units behind Shiffrin (Shiffrin having 1209 points, Gut-Behrami 1114).

A victory worth 100 points puts Swiss 32-year-old Gut-Behrami in a position to take over the leading position in the general classification if she claims victory on Saturday (as she will not participate in Sunday’s slalom). Already leading in this winter’s speciality classification, Gut-Behrami holds three victories and five podium placements.

With double the points of his closest competitor Cyprien Sarrazin, Marco Odermatt leads the general classification aiming for his third consecutive grand globe this winter.

The Swiss skier missed out on his main goal for the season – winning the downhill race in Kitzbühel – but still stands a chance to achieve an undefeated winter season in the giant slalom, a discipline he clearly rules.

After two weeks without competition due to a lack of snow, Odermatt will participate in the giant slalom in Bansko, Bulgaria on Saturday.

“Odi” has not been defeated in the giant slalom since his second position in February 2023 in Palisades Tahoe (USA), nor has he been off a speciality podium since March 2021. In mid-January, Odermatt barely managed to keep his incredible streak alive in Schladming, where he finished far behind the leaders (11th) during the first leg of the night giant. Yet, the Swiss pulled through with an outstanding second leg to clinch the win.

Leave a Comment