American skier Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s World Cup slalom on Sunday in Levi, Finland, after Petr Vlhov’s first run looked set for a clear victory until she burst through the gate and completed her final run.
Vlhova extended her large 0.76-second lead over Shiffrin from the first leg to more than a second when the Slovakian failed to clear the gate in the steep section in the middle of the Levi Black course.
Shiffrin finished 0.18 ahead of Leona Popović of Croatia, who earned her second career podium finish, and 0.30 ahead of third-place Lena Duerr of Germany.
“Petra and her team, they deserved this win today. In fact, it was really bad luck for her,” Shiffrin said. “It’s a little bittersweet. I’m very happy for the win, but I have to give her credit. She deserved it, probably a second and a half to the bottom, at least.”
Canadians Ali Nullmeyer (+1.24) and Laurence St-Germain (+1.32) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
Shiffrin’s win followed a week in which the American had to cut back on her time on the snow after bruising a bone in her left knee in a practice fall.
The result marked Shiffrin’s first top-three finish of the season and her record 89th career World Cup win.
The American won 14 races last season, which is her fifth title overall. Shiffrin started her new campaign with sixth place in the giant slalom in Austria two weeks ago.
Shiffrin finished fourth in Saturday’s race on the same hill, when Vlhova posted the fastest time in both heats to win by a wide margin of 1.41 seconds over Duerr.
“It was amazing to watch her ski these two days,” Shiffrin said of Vlhova.
It was Shiffrin’s record seventh victory in Levi, where no skier besides her or Vlhova has won the traditional season-opening slalom in Finnish Lapland since 2016.