Shiffrin focusing on the process as she nears Vonn’s record

Jan 5, 2023, 12:58 PM | Updated: Jan 6, 2023, 9:09 am
United States' Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's World...

United States' Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom, in Semmering, Austria, Wednesday, Dec.28, 2022. (AP Photo/Piermarco Tacca)

(AP Photo/Piermarco Tacca)

              United States' Mikaela Shiffrin reacts after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom race, in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
            
              The winner United States' Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates after an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom race, in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Piermarco Tacca)
            
              United States' Mikaela Shiffrin celebrates on the podium after winning an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom, in Semmering, Austria, Wednesday, Dec.28, 2022. (AP Photo/Piermarco Tacca)
            
              United States' Mikaela Shiffrin speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom race, in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)
            
              United States' Mikaela Shiffrin prior to an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom race, in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

It’s never been just about wins for Mikaela Shiffrin.

Not when she didn’t win any of her five individual races at last year’s Beijing Olympics.

And not during her current five-race winning streak.

Even when her next victory will tie her with Lindsey Vonn for the women’s World Cup record at 82 wins apiece.

“She’s a great process-oriented person,” U.S. ski team women’s head coach Paul Kristofic said. “There’s a lot of media attention around records right now but that’s honestly not really the motivating factor every day when she goes to race.

“It’s about trying to execute as well as she possibly can, ski as well as she possibly can and we know that when she’s able to do that the results are there.”

With two giant slaloms scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Shiffrin has a chance to both match and surpass Vonn’s mark this weekend. Then she can take aim at the overall record — between men and women — of 86 wins set by Ingemark Stenmark.

At age 27, Shiffrin might be in the best form of her career, which is saying a lot for a racer with four overall World Cup titles, two Olympic gold medals (from 2014 and 2018) and six golds at world championships.

Even she acknowledges that she has been displaying her “best skiing” lately.

“I am so happy and proud and thankful for that, because it feels so good,” she said after victory No. 81 on Wednesday in a slalom in Zagreb, Croatia. “And it’s a reminder at this point, after 81 victories, that I can really, really enjoy skiing when I’m skiing like that.”

It’s been quite a contrast from her performance in Beijing last winter, when Shiffrin entered amid huge expectations and came away with three DNFs, a top individual finish of ninth and nary a medal.

“Her coping strategy for when there are difficult days has improved over time, having gone through some tough times,” Kristofic said in a phone interview Friday as he drove to the races in Slovenia. “That’s the luxury of experience and perspective.

“These things happen to pretty much every ski racer where you have one bad moment, and how do you manage that so you can rebound and be focused on the right things to really make positive improvements?” added Kristofic, who also coached Vonn at the end of her career. “Maturity comes with some experience and she’s had plenty of those experiences and she’s learned from all of them.”

With seven wins across three different disciplines in 13 races this season, Shiffrin has been on another level this season even by her lofty standards.

“For my coaches, for the whole team around me, they see it in training. It’s exciting in training but, in the end, everybody is hopeful that I’m going to put it into a race and the last five races it’s been a different kind of level,” Shiffrin said.

“You can’t put a meaning on the number but right now I feel like I’m just riding a wave and I’m going to ride it until it’s over, because the only thing I can really guarantee is that at some point it ends and I’ll have to be the one who takes the defeat.”

___

Andrew Dampf is at https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf

___

More AP skiing: https://apnews.com/hub/skiing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) drives as Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (11) defends during the f...
Associated Press

Young scores 27 to lead Hawks past Jazz, 115-108

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 27 points and six assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 115-108 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night. De’Andre Hunter scored 26 points for the Hawks. Onyeka Okongwu had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dejounte Murray added 13 points and eight assists. Atlanta […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) shoots a three point basket as Houston Rockets forward Jae...
Associated Press

VanVleet has 32 as Raptors get 117-111 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 32 points, Gary Trent Jr. added 29 and the Toronto Raptors snapped a two-game skid with a 117-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. The Raptors took a commanding lead in the third quarter and were up by double-digits for most of the fourth. But five straight […]
1 day ago
Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons (1) shoots against Washington Wizards guard Monte Morr...
Associated Press

Blazers rally from 20 down to end Wizards’ win streak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anfernee Simons scored 20 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the Portland Trail Blazers erased a 20-point deficit, snapping Washington’s six-game winning streak Friday night with a 124-116 victory over the Wizards. Simons made six of Portland’s nine 3-pointers in the third, and the Trail Blazers finally caught and […]
1 day ago
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) is fouled as he drives to the basket against San Antonio...
Associated Press

Embiid’s double-double keys 76ers as Spurs drop 8th straight

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Joel Embiid had 33 points and 10 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat San Antonio 137-125 on Friday night, sending the scuffling Spurs to their eighth straight loss. Tyrese Maxey had 25 points and James Harden added 16 for Philadelphia, which has the third-best record in the Eastern Conference. “Tonight was […]
1 day ago
A scrum breaks out between Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic players during the second half ...
Associated Press

Fight between Magic, Timberwolves leads to 5 players ejected

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A fight broke out and punches were thrown during the game between the Orlando Magic and Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Five players were ejected following the brawl, which started in front of the Orlando bench late in the third quarter. Minnesota guard Austin Rivers and Magic center Mo Bamba were the […]
1 day ago
Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin (8) stands on the ice during the NHL All Star Skills Showcase, F...
Associated Press

NHL takes skills showcase outside, McDavid shines inside

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Sidney Crosby got dunked into a tank of water, Nick Suzuki holed a golf ball with a hockey stick and the NHL made hockey an outdoor sport for its skills showcase in South Florida. Two new events outside in the sun highlighted the league’s annual skills competition at All-Star Weekend, with […]
1 day ago
Shiffrin focusing on the process as she nears Vonn’s record