Mikaela Shiffrin youngest U.S. Alpine champion

Mikaela Shiffrin youngest U.S. Alpine champion
February 21, 2014, 7:45 pm
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Mikaela Shiffrin won the gold in the women's slalom with a time of 1:44:54. (USATSI)

NBCOlympics

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Invoking the sort of recovery skills that Bode Miller made famous, American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin made Alpine skiing history Friday as the youngest ever winner of an Olympic slalom gold medal.

The 18-year-old Shiffrin showed impressive balance and agility on the Rosa Khotur course, somehow correcting herself in mid-air and landing her skis back between the gates midway through her second run.

Her speed — and lead from a near-flawless first run — then carried her down the steep hill to win in a two-leg combined time of 1 minute, 44.54 seconds. She finished 0.53 seconds faster than Marlies Schild, the Austrian veteran who is one of Shiffrin's childhood favorites.

"There I was, I'm like, 'Grrreat. I'm just going to go win my first medal.' And then in the middle of the run, I'm like, 'Guess not.'" Schiffrin said. "So like, 'No. Don't do that. Do not give up. You see this through.' My whole goal was to just keep my skis moving."

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