As soon as I saw the first turns of his 2nd run, I said to myself ”it’s in the pocket”said analyst and former Canadian team skier Geneviève Simard while watching the event on Tuesday.
It was really a 100% assumed ski, but with great fluidity too. It was clean technically, how she cut the curves. It was really a level apart.
The American muse of Visa, Adidas and Barilla pasta, among others, once again proved her superiority by setting the fastest time in the two legs of the event, thus eclipsing the competition for the 83rd time in her career. A timely victory, 16 days after equaling the world’s best mark.
Mikaela Shiffrin on the Kronplatz track en route to her 83rd World Cup victory
Photo: Getty Images / MARCO BERTORELLO
What is extraordinary is its consistency, its dominance over the past 10 years in several disciplinescontinued Simard, who attributes some luck to Shiffrin,
who hasn’t had serious injuries in all those years.
Because unfortunately, on the World Cup circuit, injuries are part of the sport, so hats off just for that, for managing his busy schedule, those practices, the races and his risk taking.
With a second giant slalom event at Kronplatz on Wednesday and a slalom doubleheader at Spindleruv Mlyn, Czechia, on Saturday and Sunday, Geneviève Simard expects the suspense to be short-lived before the 27-year-old American seizes the all-time record (86), held by Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened this year. Just the way she’s skiing right now is really impressive. There’s her stability, she’s ”focus”, it’s fluid… Today, it’s as if she were dancing, it was clean. So maybe it will be done in a week.
In Geneviève Simard’s time, the grip of the mighty Austrian team, which included Michaela Dorfmeister, was giving World Cup competition serious headaches. It is this stranglehold on the podiums that probably allowed the Quebecer to win a super-G victory in Cortina d’Ampezzo in January 2004.
” When you witness total domination like that, it raises the level. The skiers have no choice but to try to do everything possible to get closer to a Vonn or a Shiffrin. »
I think it helps women’s sport to have an athlete like Mikaela Shiffrin, and like Vonn too, underlines Simard. Lindsey Vonn inspired [Sofia] Goggia for years, [Corinne] Suter too. I think it’s good for the sport to have an inspiring example like Shiffrin. We roll up our sleeves and try to reach that level.
The analyst for Radio-Canada during the next world championships, in Courchevel Meribel, France, from February 6 to 19, refuses to give more luster to one or the other of the skiers. While Shiffrin mainly dominated the technical events, she has nothing to envy to Lindsey Vonn’s speed-oriented course, often considered more physically demanding.
Lindsey Vonn after her last run in the World Championships.
Photo: The Canadian Press/Marco Trovati
I understand the question, but it doesn’t change anything in my eyes, whether in technique or speed, Simard slices. There are also injuries in the technical events. It may be less spectacular, but it puts a lot of pressure on the joints. Take the example of the American Nina O’Brien at the last Winter Olympics in Beijing. It’s the total number of victories that is impressive for both skiers.
Learn to tame the course
In a good position with the fourth fastest time in the first heat, the Canadian Valérie Grenier could not do better than the 22nd fastest time on her second outing, good for 9th place in the event. Obviously disappointed with her fate, Grenier did not hide her bitterness, she who has just won her first career race, a little over two weeks ago, in Slovenia. It is that his expectations have changed since this first success.
Photo: Getty Images / Christophe Pallot / Zoom Agency
It’s true that expectations change quickly after a victory or a podium for having experienced it myself, recalls Simard. We become addicted to this success and to this recognition of all that we have put in as work and training for the past few years.
Despite his 26 years and his 95 starts in the World Cup, Grenier still has to make his mark and improve his reading of the courses in order to limit errors in order to establish himself consistently on the international scene. It is not for lack of taking risks, it is however necessary to know when to execute.
We’ve seen Valérie’s brilliant moments for a few years now, but she lacks a bit of consistency, and she also lacks the tactical side. There’s a way to attack, it’s not that ”pedal to the medal, come what may. Over time, you learn where to ”weigh on the accelerator”, where to let go, the sections of the course where you can tighten the trajectory and take enormous risks.
The criticism was intended to be constructive, because Geneviève Simard has fond memories of this pivotal period. She saw there, when she was younger, a great playground to progress in the rankings.
It’s just small adjustments, and it’s a phase in the life of a skier that’s really exciting because technically things are in place, and we’re playing a little bit at how we can push more, and that’s really nice to be in that area.