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Alpine skiing: Shiffrin clinches World Cup slalom crown

Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States competes in the first run of the Audi FIS World Cup Ladies' Giant Slalom on March 10, 2017 in Squaw Valley, California
EZRA SHAW (Getty/AFP)

American Mikaela Shiffrin clinched the women's alpine ski World Cup slalom title Saturday at Squaw Valley before she even made it down the hill on her opening run.

The 21-year-old American, atop the overall women's World Cup points lead as well, sealed the crown in her most dominant discipline when the only rival who could pass her in the slalom standings, Veronika Velez Zuzulova, fell on her first run.

Shiffrin began the day with a 660-515 lead over the Slovakian in the slalom points standings, but her fall left her with only one race next week, and a maximum 100 possible points, not enough to overtake Shiffrin.

It marks the fourth slalom World Cup crown in five years for Shiffrin, who captured her third consecutive world slalom title earlier this year at St. Moritz.

In 2014 at Sochi, Shiffrin became the youngest slalom champion in Olympic alpine ski history at age 18.

Entering Saturday's slalom race on the California piste, Shiffrin had 10 World Cup victories this season, the most for any man or woman. She has won six slalom races, three giant slaloms and a super combined.

The Squaw Valley stop, which began with Shiffrin winning a giant slalom on Friday, was the last tuneup for the World Cup Finals next week at Aspen, Colorado, near Shiffrin's Vail home.

Shiffrin turns 22 on Monday when the World Cup Final downhill training runs begin.

Entering Saturday's race, Shiffrin led the overall World Cup standings with 1,423 points, 278 more than second-place Ilka Stuhec of Slovenia. 

Shiffrin's best finish in the overall standings was fourth in 2015 but taking the World Cup crown would make her the youngest man or woman to claim the throne since Croatia's Janica Kostelic in 2003.

(AFP) 

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