Austria’s Katharina Liensberger comfortably won slalom gold at the Alpine World Ski Championships on Saturday as Mikaela Shiffrin, aiming to win a historic 'five-peat', finished third after a poor first run.
Overall World Cup leader Petra Vlhova, who has dominated on the slalom tour this season, took silver on the podium (+1.00) behind Liensberger, who finished with an aggregate time of 1:39.50.
Shiffrin came fourth in the first run and it was always unlikely she would be able to take top spot. Her pursuit of a fifth successive title ended with a third-placed finish (+1.98).
‘Is that enough?’ – Shiffrin goes into the lead, eventually finishes third in slalom
The American went into top gear in the final six turns of her final run. She was aggressive when she needed to be on the steep, but looked to be slipping a bit at the mid-point and ultimately just fell short.
The in-form Slovakian Vlhova temporarily led. She started her last run aggressively and opened up the lead with a controlled, powerful performance to take the lead off Shiffrin by 0.98 seconds. It gave Liensberger, who won the first leg, a huge task heading into her final run.
But the pressure did not get to the 23-year-old, clinching gold for Austria for the first time in 10 years with one second to spare.
“It’s amazing,” an emotional Liensberger said afterwards. “It’s such an incredible achievement. I don’t know what to say. I really gave it all today and worked so hard for it every single day in preparations.
“It’s amazing that it all comes back. If you really want something the whole universe does something for you. I’m just so glad that I could show that today.
Especially in slalom it was often so near and so close. I won this race and it means so much to me. Thank you everyone, to the whole team that does so much for me. There’s so many people in the background working for me. Thank you so much from all of my heart.
'Nightmare' – Shiffrin’s five-peat slalom bid in jeopardy after poor first run