"It was one of my big goals to win in every discipline when I first started racing!"
17 Things You Didn't Know About Mikaela Shiffrin
- 1. Mikaela became the most decorated American athlete in Alpine World Ski Championships history at Cortina 2021, after winning bronze in super-G and gold in the alpine combined.
- 2. In September 2020, Mikaela and her family helped to launch the Jeff Shiffrin Athlete Resiliency Fund, in honor of her father. In response to the COVID-19 crisis and setbacks it has created for our sports, a group of generous donors (six families) have stepped up and offered to match, dollar for dollar, every single contribution raised up to $1.5 million to enable athletes across all sports to continue to keep the ship sailing smoothly, allowing camps to run as planned, so all U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes can maintain their competitive edge throughout a prolonged period of uncertainty. The fund raised $3,075,000+ dollars for U.S. Ski & Snowboard athletes.
- 3. In Levi in 2019, Shiffrin surpassed Ingemar Stenmark’s slalom win record (they were tied at 40 victories), making her the winningest slalom skier of all time.
- 4. She became the youngest woman in U.S. history to win a World Championship and the youngest athlete in history (male or female) to win an Olympic slalom gold medal in Sochi in 2014.
- 5. With her first super-G win at Lake Louise in December 2018, Mikaela became the first athlete in FIS Ski World Cup history to win in all six disciplines.
- 6. In 2019 at the Åre, Sweden World Championships, Mikaela grabbed her fourth-straight slalom title. With this victory, she became the first athlete to win four successive World Championship titles in a single discipline.
- 7. In 2019, she had 17 World Cup victories on the season, shattering Vreni Schneider’s record for wins in a single season (Vreni had 14 wins).
- 8. Mikaela made her World Cup debut at 15-years-old in 2011 at Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic.
- 9. In the 2016 slalom opener at Aspen, Mikaela won by 3.07 seconds—it was the largest women’s slalom win margin since 1968.
- 10. Mikaela's first World Cup podium was a third place in slalom in Lienz, Austria at age 16 in 2011. Her first victory came the next season, in Are, Sweden in December 2012.
- 11. She is the youngest racer ever to reach 50 World Cup victories and currently sits tied for third with Marcel Hirscher on the list of all-time World Cup victories among men and women, with 67 (as of December, 31, 2020).
- 12. Mikaela is the first alpine athlete to win the following combination of World Cup Crystal Globes in a single season (2019): overall, slalom, giant slalom (her career-first), and super-G (her career-first).
- 13. She is the first athlete to win the combination of super-G and slalom World Championship titles in the same year, in Are, Sweden in 2019.
- 14. If she was not a skier, Mikaela would study marine biology or environmental science. She loves to play guitar and piano, and sing (check out her Instagram!), play tennis, windsurf, and more. She also can unicycle and juggle a soccer ball like a boss!
- 15. Mikaela has a small herd of reindeer - the annual prize for the Levi World Cup victor. Their names are Rudolph (2013), Sven (2016), Mr. Gru (2018), and Ingemar (2019).
- 16. At Cortina 2021 World Championships, she became the first skier - male or female - to win gold medals at five straight worlds.
- 17. Mikaela credits her mother, Eileen, as being the most influential person in her career. "She's an inspiration to me for her caring nature, incredible ability to learn anything, and constantly putting others before herself."
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More on Mikaela
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion Mikaela Shiffrin began turning heads almost instantly when she finished top 15 in her first two NorAm Cup races. But the heads started spinning when she won a super combined in British Colombia two weeks later, and then ski fans and coaches went cross-eyed when she landed a World Cup podium during her rookie season–at age 16. She then proceeded to blow the world apart with a World Championship slalom gold medal and the World Cup slalom title during her sophomore year.
She topped herself again in 2014, earning five more World Cup wins, giant slalom podiums, an Olympic gold medal, and a second-straight slalom title. In 2015 she really wowed us–successfully defending her World Championship slalom title on home turf under immense pressure at Vail/Beaver Creek, and then snagging her third-straight slalom title. During the 2016 season, Shiffrin sustained a knee injury during a warm-up run in Are, Sweden in December and was sidelined. That didn't stop her for too long, though–she came back and went on to win all of the remaining slalom races she competed in on the World Cup tour.
Shiffrin's career success has her well on her way to full-on legend status (if she's not already there), but her 2019 season was one for the books, as she shattered records every weekend she hit the mountain. Her mind-blowing achievements turned heads from major mainstream publications, including The Washington Post to ESPN, USA Today, and beyond who deemed Shiffrin the "world's most dominant athlete" placing her amongst the upper echelon of athletes, like Serena Williams, LeBron James, and more.
Shiffrin's meteoric rise into the World Cup elite wasn't a surprise to anyone who's been paying attention. With the work ethic and passion of a veteran, Shiffrin posted her first World Cup starts as a 15-year-old and nearly scored her first points. Her first podium happened a year later (2012), and then she let loose. Here’s a summary of her past nine seasons:
- In 2013 Shiffrin became the first U.S. slalom World Cup champion since Tamara McKinney in 1983-84.
- She became the youngest woman in U.S. history to win a World Championship and the youngest athlete in history (male or female) to win an Olympic slalom gold medal in Sochi in 2014.
- Shiffrin has notched 70 career World Cup wins across six disciplines (slalom, giant slalom, parallel slalom, alpine combined, super-G, and downhill). In 2019, with her first super-G win at Lake Louise, Shiffrin became the first athlete in FIS Ski World Cup history to win in all six disciplines.
- She snagged her first giant slalom victory in 2015 at the season-opener in Soelden and added three more to her trophy case in 2017, including a sweep in Semmering and a win on home soil in Squaw Valley, California. She also won her first alpine combined in Crans Montana, Switzerland in 2017, her first downhill in Lake Louise in 2018, and her first super-G in Lake Louise in 2019- safe to say that with this win, she has arrived on the speed scene.
- With 70 career World Cup wins (as of November 16, 2021), Shiffrin has the second-most World Cup victories by a U.S. woman, behind only Lindsey Vonn with 82. And she's only 25-years-old.
- Youngest racer ever to reach 50 World Cup victories and currently sits tied for third with Marcel Hirscher on the list of all-time World Cup victories among men and women, with 67.
- In the 2016 slalom opener at Aspen, Colo., Shiffrin blew away a 34-year-old winning drought in Aspen, with no American woman standing on top of the FIS Ski World Cup podium at Aspen since Tamara McKinney won in 1981. And Shiffrin didn’t just break the record; she annihilated it, winning the race by 3.07 seconds. That margin broke yet another record—it was the largest women’s slalom win margin since 1968 by 3.07 seconds.
- Shiffrin won all five of the slalom races she competed in during the 2016 season, and she did it by a combined time of 10.56 seconds–a 2.11-second average margin of victory.
- During the 2017 season, Shiffrin snagged two tech series gold medal sweeps–in Semmering and Squaw Valley. She also recorded three victories on home soil–two in Squaw Valley, Calif. (one giant slalom and one slalom) and one in Killington, Vt.
- Shiffrin joined an elite group of American skiers in 2017, becoming just the fifth to win an Overall title, and she did it at a mere 22-years-old. She grabbed her third-straight overall globe in 2019, along with her sixth slalom globe in seven seasons.
- In 2018, Shiffrin fulfilled her goal of reaching the top of the podium in the giant slalom at the Olympics, with gold in giant slalom and a silver in the alpine combined.
- In 2019 at the Åre, Sweden World Championships, Shiffrin grabbed her fourth-straight slalom title. With this victory, she became the first athlete to win four successive World Championship titles in a single discipline.
- Mikaela is the first alpine athlete to win the following combination of World Cup Crystal Globes in a single season (2019): overall, slalom, giant slalom (her career-first), and super-G (her career-first). This is incredibly unique, as super-G and slalom are completely different disciplines. It’s like a track athlete winning consistently in the 1500m run while also winning in the 100m. Very different.
- First athlete–male or female–to win 15 World Cup races in a calendar year (2018)
- Became the Winningest Slalom Skier of All-Time, with 41 World Cup slalom victories (surpassing Swedish legend Ingemar Stenmark's previous record of 40) in 2019. As of November 16, 2021, she has 45 slalom victories.
- First athlete–male or female–to win both the super-G and slalom world championships in the same year (2019). She also took home a bronze medal in the giant slalom.
- In 2019, Mikaela had 17 World Cup victories on the season, shattering Vreni Schneider’s record for wins in a single season (Vreni had 14 wins).
- Mikaela’s winning and podium percentage on her historic 2019 season:
- 29 races, with 24 podiums (including 2019 World Champs giant slalom bronze), 19 of which were wins (including 2019 World Champs super-G and slalom victories)
- There was an 83% chance Mikaela will podium a race she entered, and a 66% chance she’d win - across five disciplines (downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom, parallel slalom)
- In Levi in 2019, Mikaela surpassed Ingemar Stenmark’s slalom win record (they were tied at 40 victories), making her the winningest slalom skier of all time. She named her reindeer “Ingemar” to honor the legend. With her win in Killington, over Vlhova by 2.29 seconds, and her win in Lienz, Austria – she now has 45 career slalom victories (as of October 15, 2021).
- At Cortina 2021, Mikaela became the most decorated American athlete in Alpine World Ski Championships history, with nine World Championship medals (six golds, one silver, two bronze). She also became the first skier – male or female – to win gold medals at five straight worlds.
With both tech and speed disciplines now in her arsenal, she’s a legit threat in every discipline she enters. Safe to say…the future is bright for Shiffrin.
Mikaela was getting freshies down the family driveway at age three and quickly graduated to running gates at Vail.
"When I was a J5 I did a lot of free skiing and I actually didn't like free skiing. I just thought it was a waste of time and I would've rather been training or directed free skiing. I always wanted to be thinking of something, whether it was 'arms forward' or my parents had a saying 'knees to skis and hands in front'–it's been drilled into my head and every time I get on snow that's what I start thinking. I did free ski a lot. I did do a lot of drills. It was probably 1/3 free skiing, 1/3 drills, 1/3 gates, and I did a lot of mogul skiing. I loved skiing the bumps, just the rhythm, trying not to eat it on a bump was really fun for me."