Shiffrin takes slalom over Popovic for record 7th career victory in Levi, Finland

American skier Mikaela Shiffrin won a women's World Cup slalom Sunday in Levi, Finland, after first-run leader Petra Vlhova looked set for a clear victory until straddling a gate and not finishing her final run.

American star has 89 World Cup wins; Canadians Nullmeyer and St-Germain 6th, 7th

A women's skier carves past a gate.
American Mikaela Shiffrin posted her 89th victory on the World Cup circuit, posting a two-run time of 1:51.68 in Sunday's slalom to finish 0.18 seconds ahead of Leona Popovic of Croatia and 0.30 in front of third-place finisher Lena Duerr of Germany in Levi, Finland. (Christophe Pallot/Getty Images)

Mikaela Shiffrin won a women's World Cup slalom Sunday after first-run leader Petra Vlhova looked set for another clear victory until she straddled a gate and did not finish her final run.

Vlhova, who dominated Saturday's race on the same hill, extended her big lead of 0.76 seconds over Shiffrin from the opening leg to more than a second when the Slovakian failed to clear a gate in the steep section midway down the Levi Black course in Finland.

Shiffrin called Vlhova's mishap "really bad luck for her."

"Petra really did a masterclass in slalom skiing this weekend. And she was by far ahead. In my mind, she earned this victory and I'm quite lucky to have it," said the American, who secured her record-extending 89th career World Cup win.

"It's a little bittersweet. I'm really happy with the victory, but I have to give her the credit. She earned it, probably a second and a half by the bottom, at least."

WATCH | Shiffrin captures slalom win in Finland:

Mikaela Shiffrin earns first World Cup win of season in women's slalom

6 months ago
Duration 2:19
The record-setting skier finished with an overall time of 1:51.68 to place first in the women's slalom competition at the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup stop in Levi, Finland.

Shiffrin posted a two-run time of one minute 51.68 seconds, 0.18 ahead of Leona Popovic of Croatia, who was fastest in the final run and earned her second career podium result, and 30-100ths of a second ahead of third-placed Lena Duerr of Germany (1:51.98).

It was Shiffrin's record seventh win in Levi, where no skier other than her or Vlhova has won the traditional season-opening slalom since 2016.

Slalom world champion Laurence St-Germain of Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., bounced back from a disappointing showing Saturday, when she failed to qualify for the second run. On Sunday, St-Germain finished seventh in 1:53.00, one place behind Canadian teammate Ali Nullmeyer (1:52.92).

Bone bruise in left knee from training crash

Shiffrin's win followed a week in which the American had to reduce her time on snow after bruising a bone in her left knee in a training crash.

"If anything, it proves that I have a good mindset to fight, still," Shiffrin said. "After the last 10 days, it has been a little bit of a struggle to imagine even racing, so this means a lot to the whole team."

The result marked the first top-three result of the season for Shiffrin. She won 14 races last season and her fifth overall title.

Shiffrin started the new campaign with a sixth place in a giant slalom in Austria two weeks ago and finished fourth in Saturday's first slalom, when Vlhova posted the fastest time in both runs to win by a big margin of 1.41 seconds over Duerr.

"It was amazing to watch her ski these two days," Shiffrin said of Vlhova.

This weekend's result gave Shiffrin an early lead in both the slalom and the overall World Cup standings.

The victory earned the American a seventh reindeer, a traditional prize the winner receives after the race in Finnish Lapland. The animals remain on a local farm in Finland.

Katharina Liensberger, the 2021 winner of the slalom World Cup and world title who got her first podium in nearly two years Saturday, shared eighth with Wendy Holdener of Switzerland.

The women's World Cup continues with two cross-border Zermatt-Cervinia downhills in Switzerland and Italy next week. The men's races on the Matterhorn mountain were canceled this weekend due to heavy snowfall and strong winds.

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