Switching gears for a hot second, we wanted to show skiing some love after our heavy and persistent snowboarding coverage throughout the season. And for good reason, too—two of our country’s greats made serious headlines the past week, albeit for drastically different reasons.
Held from February 4th to the 17th this year, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2019 in Åre, Sweden featured Olympians and world champions doing what they do best. Åre is no stranger to serious winter sports—it hosted the world championships in 1954 and 2007, as well as a number of World Cup events.
If you’re unfamiliar, the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships is the biggest ski racing event outside of the Olympics. So, what all went down? While there were eleven total events, two American women made headlines.
Mikaela Shiffrin Makes History
American Mikaela Shiffrin came into this event more than a bit worse for wear. Her coughing spell was so intense that she was battling stomach spasms as she attempted to make history at these championships.
The 23-year-old Shiffrin had already shown out in the Women’s Slalom event in Schladming (2013), Beaver Creek (2015) and St Moritz (2017). But with illness holding her down and a less-than-ideal first run, going for a record-setting fourth consecutive gold in the event became questionable.
“My mom said to me before the second run, ‘You don’t have to do this,'” Shiffrin said, via NBC Sports. “I was coughing so hard that my stomach was in spasms, and I couldn’t breathe, and then I kept coughing more.
“At what point do you say, No, I can’t do 60 seconds of skiing. I’m out here. I want to do it and whether I win or not, I just wanted to try. And when she said, You don’t have to, then I was sure that I wanted to.”
Shiffrin doubled down and made history, grabbing the gold. She also stood atop the podium at this year’s FIS for Super-G, and tacked on a bronze in Giant Slalom for good measure. Not a bad haul for someone coming off winning 11 of her last 14 World Cup races… good for third-all-time on the women’s list of most successful racers (56 victories).
The woman standing in front of her at second all-time? Lindsey Vonn.
End of an Era - Lindsey Vonn
The FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2019 marked the end of an era in American women’s skiing. The incomparable Lindsey Vonn is retiring after Sunday’s downhill—the 34-year-old’s body is simply giving out on her.
Vonn scored an unbelievable 82 World Cup Victories, putting her second all-time behind only Sweden's Ingemar Stenmar in that metric. However, on the whole, Vonn is stepping out of the sport as the most successful female ski racer of all time.
Hell of a career, huh?
While Vonn won’t quite get the farewell tour she wished for this season due to her physical state, she went out a winner at these World Championships—she earned Bronze for her sterling effort in the Downhill event.
Congrats on a sensational, record-setting career, Lindsey!
The United States, as a country, tied with Sweden and Norway with 2 gold medals and four medals overall. As for individual results, here’s how it broke down:
Men’s Individual Events
Downhill - Kjetil Jansrud, Norway (Gold) | Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway (Silver) | Vincent Kriechmayr, Austria (Bronze)
Super-G - Dominik Paris, Italy (Gold) | Johan Clarey, France & Vincent Kriechmayr, Austria (Silver) | No Bronze Awarded
Giant slalom - Henrik Kristoffersen, Norway (Gold) | Marcel Hirscher, Austria (Silver) | Alexis Pinturault, France (Bronze)
Slalom - Marcel Hirscher, Austria (Gold) | Michael Matt, Austria (Silver) | Marco Schwarz, Austria (Bronze)
Alpine combined - Alexis Pinturault, France (Gold) | Štefan Hadalin, Slovenia (Silver) | Marco Schwarz, Austria (Bronze)
Women's Individual Events
Downhill - Ilka Štuhec, Slovenia (Gold) | Corinne Suter, Switzerland (Silver) | Lindsey Vonn, United States (Bronze)
Super-G - Mikaela Shiffrin, United States (Gold) | Sofia Goggia, Italy (Silver) | Corinne Suter, Switzerland (Bronze)
Giant slalom - Petra Vlhová, Slovakia (Gold) | Viktoria Rebensburg, Germany (Silver) | Mikaela Shiffrin, United States (Bronze)
Slalom - Mikaela Shiffrin, United States (Gold) | Anna Swenn-Larsson, Sweden (Silver) | Petra Vlhová, Slovakia (Bronze)
Alpine combined - Wendy Holdener, Switzerland (Gold) | Petra Vlhová, Slovakia (Silver) | Ragnhild Mowinckel, Norway (Bronze)
Team event - Gold (Switzerland) | Silver (Austria) | Italy (Bronze)