One, one thousand.
Two, one thousand.
Three, one thousand.
And then the second skier crossed the finish.
We don’t need no stinking timing wand. The winner could have been determined with a wristwatch taking the cue from a guy at the start yelling “Go.”
First across was our own 20-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin. The best junior ski racer ever, by a large margin. Appears she’s getting warmed up.
The margin was the largest ever recorded in a women’s World Cup slalom: 3.07 seconds. The previous mark had been set in 1968.
That’s 47 years ago — or 27 years and 10 days before Mikaela was born.
Lots has changed in the sport since then. Lots has changed in the last dozen years. But talent is talent. Skill is skill. Ms. Shiffrin is stunningly good.
As if to emphasize the stun factor, she won the next day, on the same hill, by 2.65. In 414 women’s slaloms since the World Cup started, that would be the fifth biggest margin ever.
First and fifth on consecutive days. Getting a grasp?
All of this was preceded by a very uncharacteristic fall three gates from the finish of a GS, a discipline in which she has just won once at the World Cup level.
Instead of being decimated from losing what was certain to be her second Cup GS win, she was able to turn the disappointment into motivational fuel.
Clearly this woman is special. Very special.
Shiffrin already owns more World Cup slalom wins than three-time Cup slalom champion Marc Girardelli got in his career. Others she has passed on the all time slalom win list include: Perrine Pelen, Pernilla Wiberg, Benny Raich and Ivica Kostelic. And she went past U.S.-best Phil Mahre and Tamara McKinney quite some time ago. Looking ahead, she’s one win behind Anja Paerson and four back of Janica Kostelic and Erika Hess.
McKudos, of course, to Resi Stiegler for a 10th and a 15th. That’s her best start to a season in 13 years. She is 30 and apparently still as fast as ever. Shiffrin’s a decade younger. If she keeps stockpiling wins as she is capable, nothing is out of reach. Nothing.
Which she has shown us already: She owns two World Championships. The Olympic gold. And two World Cup slalom titles. Nice enough. But back-to-back all-time margin marks — are you serious?
This is history, folks. World Cup royalty — aware of it or not — is assuming the throne. Relish it.