American skier Shiffrin leads 1st run of slalom at worlds

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MERIBEL, France (AP) — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin led the first run of the slalom at the world championships Saturday, two days after winning gold in the giant slalom.

In bright sunshine on the Roc de Fer course, Shiffrin opened the race in 52.54 seconds.

Swiss skier Wendy Holdener trailed by 0.19 seconds in second place. Laurence St-Germain of Canada was 0.61 behind in third.

The rest of the field had more than nine-tenths of a second to make up in the second leg.

“I was definitely kind of holding my breath for quite a few of the women, because there are so many who are fast this season,” said Shiffrin, who is after her third medal at these worlds after winning silver in the super-G last week and becoming GS world champion Thursday.

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 can become the first skier, male or female, to win six medals in one discipline at world championships.

Olympic slalom champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia was 0.99 behind and defending world champion Katharina Liensberger of Austria finished 1.70 off the pace.

“There’s still a lot possible in the second run,” Shiffrin said. “I think the conditions will be different, it’s going to be in the shadow, the course set will be different as well. My task is just to focus.”

The course for the first run was set by Mark Mitter, Shiffrin’s assistant coach. Mike Day, Shiffrin’s head coach, split with the skier suddenly four days ago when Shiffrin told him she was going to change up her staff at the end of the season.

While Day was listed as the course setter on the race start list, it was Mitter who actually performed the duties. He set a fluent, rhythmic course with no tricky passages. Austrian coach Georg Harzl was scheduled to set the course for the second run.

Shiffrin hadn’t finished her opening event at the worlds last week when she straddled a gate in the slalom portion of the combined.

Saturday’s slalom is the last women’s event of the worlds.

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