American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin used two attacking and error-free runs to became the youngest female on a World Cup slalom podium since Tamara McKinney in 1978.
The 16-year-old Shiffrin finish third Thursday in Lienz, Austria, behind winner Marlies Schild of Austria and Tina Maze of Slovenia. Schild, one of Shiffrin’s idols, won her fourth straight slalom race this season.
“I have learned something from so many racers,” Shiffrin said. “From Marlies, getting her 31st win here. From Lindsey[Vonn], with so many wins in all the disciplines. From the whole U.S team, with all their energy and the positive attitude.”
Shiffrin started her eighth World Cup event at No. 40. She ended the opening run in 12th before posting the fastest time in the final run. She finished 1.30 seconds behind Schild, who lost 0.24 to Shiffrin in the final run.
Schild had two flawless runs to finish in a combined 1 minute, 51.42 seconds and beat Maze by 0.79 seconds. Vonn finished 18th and retained the lead in the overall World Cup standings.
Shiffrin, who became the youngest U.S. national slalom champion last spring, impressed with a second run that included turns extremely close to the gates.
Shiffrin made her debut on the World Cup just before her 16th birthday last March, starting in two World Cup races in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic. For now, she’s only focusing on slalom and giant slalom, leaving the speed events for down the road.
She’s accompanied by her mother, Eileen, who also helps the Vail Colorado high school student with her homework. Shiffrin lives in an apartment near Soelden, Austria, which is the U.S. team’s training base in Europe.