Canadian skier St-Germain beats Shiffrin to slalom gold

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MERIBEL, France (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin didn’t hold on to a first-run lead and was beaten to gold by unheralded Canadian skier Laurence St-Germain in the women’s slalom at the world championships Saturday.

The American finished 0.57 seconds behind St-Germain after the final run to settle for silver.

St-Germain’s victory marked the first gold for Canada in women’s slalom since Anne Heggtveit won at the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley, which also counted as the world championships.

Lena Duerr of Germany was 0.69 behind and won bronze.

“Today was incredible, just a joy to race,” said Shiffrin, whose medal added to the gold she won in the giant slalom Thursday, two days after her head coach Mike Day split with the skier, and the silver in the super-G last week.

“Especially after the last weeks and everything that happened, I kind of thought if I can do some of my best skiing,” Shiffrin said. “Everybody is tired and it’s the end of a long push. I was so happy with my first run and really happy with a lot of sections on the second run. And here and there I backed it off a little bit and then it’s not enough for gold.”

The slalom was Shiffrin’s fourth event in 12 days at the worlds. The American didn’t finish her opening event at the worlds last week when she straddled a gate in the slalom portion of the combined, before winning a medal in each of the next three.

“At the end of two weeks, if I’m a little but tired, I cannot move quick enough in slalom,” Shiffrin said.” I mean, I can move quick enough in slalom, of course, I have a silver medal, but there is somebody who is going to be able to do it faster. That’s always the case.”

Shiffrin, the 2014 Olympic champion, won the world slalom title four times between 2013 and 2019 and took the bronze medal two years ago. She became the first skier, male or female, to win six medals in one discipline at world championships.

St-Germain was third after the opening run, 0.61 behind Shiffrin, before overtaking the American in the final run. Swiss skier Wendy Holdener, who was second going into the final run, straddled a gate and did not finish.

“I was really not expecting this, obviously. It’s unbelievable,” St-Germain said. “I attacked, had a bit of a mistake, just thinking go down, go down, go down, and it worked out, I guess.”

St-Germain’s previous best result at major championships was sixth in the slalom at the 2019 worlds. Sixth is also her best finish in a World Cup slalom, in Levi in 2020.

Saturday’s race was the last women’s event of the worlds. The championships close with the men’s slalom Sunday.

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