Mikaela Shiffrin equals all-time skiing record with 86th World Cup victory in Sweden

(CNN) Mikaela Shiffrin won her 86th World Cup race on Friday – triumphing in the giant slalom in Åre, Sweden – to equal the overall record set by skiing legend Ingemar Stenmark.

Shiffrin is now on course to become the winningest athlete of all time – male or female – and can break the record on Saturday in the slalom.

“It’s just a spectacular day,” a beaming Shiffrin said after the race. “I just wanted to push and fight for it.”

She finished her final race 00.64 seconds ahead of her closest rival Federica Brignone despite the Italian setting the fastest time in the second moto.

It was the 20th victory in the giant slalom for the 27-year-old American and tied her with Vreni Schneider for the record number of women’s victories in this discipline.

Shiffrin’s compatriot Lindsey Vonn, who had 83 World Cup victories and held the women’s record before Shiffrin passed her, tweeted: “Congratulations!! Dominant.”

Friday’s win also secured Shiffrin his 15th giant slalom crystal globe. The American had already won the overall and slalom titles earlier this season.

Shiffrin can claim the record for herself on Saturday when she returns to the slopes in the slalom, which begins at 4:15 a.m. ET.

If she doesn’t claim victory in her favorite race, the American skier will have another shot at glory next week at the World Cup final in Andorra where she will compete in the downhill, super-G, big slalom and the slalom.

Shiffrin won the record race at the same location where she won her first World Cup race in 2012.

Breaking Stenmark’s record would cap off a remarkable season for Shiffrin considering she hasn’t won a single medal in five races at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and hasn’t finished in three of between them.

She has won 12 World Cups so far this season, five short of her own record of 17 set in 2018-19.

In February, Shiffrin surpassed Vonn’s women’s record of 82 victories before securing her seventh career gold medal at the Alpine World Championships in the Alps, which made her the most successful skier of the era. modern (after World War II).

Shiffrin spoke to CNN’s Amanda Davies in January, saying, “I feel like I don’t push myself if my rivals don’t push me, and my whole career I’ve always had at least one main rival. It’s always in my What are they doing? What are they working on?

“Even if I train alone, I always think: ‘Can I ski that fast?’ And if I can, then I better because someone else probably is.”

Shiffrin has now won 52 slaloms, 20 giant slaloms, five super-Gs, five parallels, three downhills and an alpine combined.

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