Mikaela Shiffrin wins combined gold to set American mark with sixth world title

  • American star wins combined gold at world championships
  • Shiffrin breaks records held by Ted Ligety and Lindsey Vonn
  • Marco Schwarz wins men’s combined for Austria’s third gold
Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the second run of the women’s alpine combined event on Monday at the alpine world ski championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Mikaela Shiffrin competes in the second run of the women’s alpine combined event on Monday at the alpine world ski championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
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Last modified on Tue 16 Feb 2021 05.18 EST

Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s combined to set an American record with her sixth world championship title.

It also marked Shiffrin’s record-breaking ninth overall medal in world championships, surpassing a record she had shared with compatriot Lindsey Vonn.

She became the first American winner of the women’s combined since Tamara McKinney won it in 1989 at the worlds in Vail.

Shiffrin has four golds in slalom and one in super-G from previous worlds.

The 25-year-old from Vail, Colorado, ranked third after the super-G portion but was fastest in the slalom leg to beat Slovaian rival Petra Vlhova by 0.86 seconds. Olympic champion Michelle Gisin of Switzerland finished 0.89 behind for bronze at Cortina d’Ampezzo, where the 2026 Winter Olympics will be staged.

Two of Shiffrin’s main competitors failed to complete their slalom runs.

First-run leader Federica Brignone straddled the third gate as Italy keeps waiting for its first medal at this year’s worlds after five events. Defending champion Wendy Holdener of Switzerland also skied out early in her run.

Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s combined to set an US record with her sixth world championship title.

Shiffrin, who claimed the bronze medal in Thursday’s super-G, was elated after winning her first ever combined gold medal in the world championships.

“I am happy we decided to put the combined event in the plans for this world champs,” she told Eurosport in a flash interview in the finish area.

“It was a really nice day, beautiful weather and really great tracks on both events. It’s sometimes intimidating to go on that surface, it’s like going into battle.

“You have to get yourself psyched up and give your very best skiing to be fast and even get to the finish.”

Shiffrin has now won Olympic or world titles in four of the five traditional alpine skiing events – super-G, giant slalom, slalom and combined – not including a pair of downhill wins on the World Cup circuit.

Mikaela Shiffrin
Mikaela Shiffrin speaks to the media after competing in her second run on Monday. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

She has competed at seven Olympics or world championships and earned at least one gold medal at every one. Her sixth world championship gold medal breaks the previous American record of five which she shared with the recently retired Ted Ligety.

Marco Schwarz won the men’s combined to give Austria its third gold medal of this year’s worlds.

Schwarz edged defending champion Alexis Pinturault by four-hundredths of a second. Loic Meillard of Switzerland was 1.12 behind in third.

Schwarz was a bronze medalist two years ago. He was four-tenths off the lead in fifth after the super-G portion before posting the fastest time in the slalom leg.

Canadian skier James Crawford surprisingly led after the super-G part and finished a career best fourth.

The world championships, held in odd years, run through 21 February. Shiffrin is again the headliner, planning to race four individual events at worlds for the first time: the combined, super-G, giant slalom and slalom.