Shiffrin full of gratitude after milestone win

By Rory Carroll

(Reuters) – Before Mikaela Shiffrin skied into the history books with an 83rd World Cup victory on Tuesday, she took time to acknowledge the more than 100 course workers as they finished a long night of clearing excess snow off the Italian piste.

“I took a video of them because that was a moment where you take a step back and look at all these people who are working to make this race happen,” she said after setting the women’s World Cup record.

“Everybody is doing their job and my only job is to try to make some good turns and ski fast. I think I can do that. That was a nice moment in the day.”

The fact that she gave a shout out to the behind-the-scene staff on a day when she was the toast of the skiing world came as no surprise to those who know the two-time Olympic champion, who is always quick to praise those around her.

“It’s the saying, we all know it – it takes a village. It actually takes a city,” the native of Vail, Colorado said with a laugh.

“Literally from the moment that I took my first breath in life there have been people supporting me long before any of them knew I might be a ski racer or that I might get 83 victories.”

Sometimes that help has come in the form of people keeping her grounded amid sky-high expectations.

Shiffrin burst onto the international racing scene as an 18-year-old in 2014 when she became the youngest slalom champion in Olympic history.

“When people said you’re going to break record, you’re a ‘phenom,’ all these words that people used. Every stop of the way I needed not only people to be supportive and help me keep working on my skiing,” the 27-year-old said.

“But I also needed people to lock my feet on the ground because people tell you you’re amazing before you’ve done anything.”

After breaking fellow American Lindsey Vonn’s record with a giant slalom win at the Italian resort of Kronplatz, Shiffrin is now just three wins away from matching the all-time record set by men’s slalom great Ingemar Stenmark.

Asked about potentially breaking Stenmark’s record, she immediately turned to praise the Swede, whose 86 World Cup victories came in the 1970s and 1980s.

“I would say the name means more than the number,” she said.

“He’s an absolute legend in skiing and no matter what I achieve.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Pritha Sarkar)