By ERIC WILLEMSEN, Related Press
For the primary time since Lindsey Vonn’s retirement, the U.S. girls’s ski workforce is now not solely depending on Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup success.
Shiffrin was liable for all 34 American podium outcomes on the ladies’s circuit up to now two seasons, however three months into the present marketing campaign, two workforce members have scooped top-three outcomes as effectively.
Paula Moltzan completed runner-up in a parallel occasion in Austria in November, and Breezy Johnson added back-to-back third-place finishes in two downhills in France this month.
The season has additionally introduced a string of career-best outcomes for Nina O’Brien, Keely Cashman and AJ Damage.
“I’m actually enthusiastic about and pleased with our workforce,” Shiffrin stated after inserting third within the year-end evening slalom in Semmering, Austria, on Tuesday.
“Every little thing is constructing. It’s been a very very long time since we had this a lot depth inside our complete ski workforce. It’s actually cool to see that.”
With a girls’s document of 82 World Cup victories behind her, Vonn retired in February 2019 after successful downhill bronze on the world championships, however her final World Cup podium got here on the finals of the earlier season, in March 2018.
That very same season Shiffrin gained her second general title whereas Alice McKennis Duran and Jacqueline Wiles additionally scored podium outcomes.
Since then, it has been all about Shiffrin.
She had 21 podiums, together with a record-breaking 17 wins, within the 2018/19 season, and 13 podiums the next marketing campaign, which was minimize brief following the dying of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, in early February and the outbreak of the coronavirus.
This season Moltzan turned the primary workforce member to step ahead, ending a career-best 10th within the season-opening big slalom in October earlier than incomes her first podium six weeks later.
“I’m sort of overwhelmed however I’m actually excited. I’m actually fortunate to have a fantastic workforce to share it with,” stated Moltzan, who began racing on the identical Buck Hill in Minneapolis the place Vonn had her snowboarding roots.
Within the closing race weekend earlier than the Christmas break, Johnson was the subsequent workforce member to seem within the highlight, getting her first two profession podiums on two consecutive days.
The Jackson, Wyoming native improved one place from her earlier finest, when she completed fourth in a downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in February 2018 that was gained by Vonn.
“I nonetheless will at all times say that I’m actually bummed that I by no means shared (a podium) with Lindsey Vonn. I used to be shut one time,” stated Johnson, who has recovered from extreme accidents to each knees since that race in Germany.
“After the accidents, I’ve a lot power, I’ve a lot enjoyable.
“Once we practice, I’m like: ‘What number of runs can we take, can we take six, can we take seven?’ I’ve a lot love for the game and realizing that it could possibly be taken away at any second in a really possible way, I don’t take something as a right.”
Different workforce members have stepped ahead as effectively: O’Brien bought a profession finest in GS in October and added her first top-10 consequence by ending ninth in Tuesday’s slalom; Cashman collected her first World Cup factors by coming 17th and 16th in two downhills in France earlier than inserting 10th in a super-G the subsequent day; and Damage scored her first factors within the parallel occasion the place Moltzan completed second earlier than ending 18th in a GS in France.
“These are athletes that I’ve watched snowboarding for years,” Shiffrin stated. “I grew up snowboarding with them. I raced with them for 15 or extra years. I do know that they’ll have success within the World Cup.”
Shiffrin has contributed three of the American workforce’s six podium outcomes this season, together with a win at a GS in Courchevel, France.
The double Olympic champion and three-time general champion wasn’t hiding her pleasure about seeing her teammates fulfilling their potential.
“There are all these completely different tales that make them this place the place they’re lastly having success,” Shiffrin stated. “I’m simply it and I really feel so freakishly enthusiastic about it.”
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