Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin crowned 'Snow Queen'

Mikaela Shiffrin is officially the Snow Queen.The American slalom ski racer secured her seventh win in just 14...

Posted: Jan 4, 2018 1:41 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2018 1:41 PM

Mikaela Shiffrin is officially the Snow Queen.

The American slalom ski racer secured her seventh win in just 14 starts this season in Croatia Wednesday, dominating alpine skiing's first major World Cup event of 2018.

Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin wins Zagreb slalom event

American has won seven times in 14 starts this season

But 22-year-old tells CNN: "I don't feel like a snow queen"

The 22-year-old scored her 38th World Cup win and now has 1081 points in the overall World Cup standings -- more than double the total of her nearest rival, Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg (510).

Shiffrin was handed the Zagreb event's traditional glass Snow Queen crown by Croatian four-time Olympic champion Janica Kostelic -- a true great she is already well on the way to emulating.

But unfortunately for Shiffrin's slalom rivals, complacency simply isn't on the cards.

"I'm going to go back out there in the next days, train and race again," Shiffrin told CNN Alpine Edge. "I don't feel like a snow queen, I just feel like another girl trying to ski fast."

READ: Meet the man who lives in an Olympic stadium

'A race for second'

After straddling a gate last year in Zagreb -- for once failing to make the podium -- this was a moment of redemption for Shiffrin.

She opened a huge lead of 1.41 seconds in her first run and extended her advantage to 1.59 seconds over Wendy Holdener of Switzerland on Croatia's Medvednica ("Bear") Mountain.

Frida Hansdotter of Sweden was a further 0.52 seconds back in third.

Such was Shiffrin's margin of dominance, Austrian competitor Bernadette Schild told CNN Sport it effectively felt like "a race for second place."

Shiffrin, champion in this event in 2013 and 2015, now has three Snow Queen crowns.

"I love racing here so I wanted to come back and have a little bit of redemption and ski aggressive," she said. "I am feeling really good with my skiing."

READ: Shiffrin 'scared' by Russian doping scandal

Should the American maintain her red-hot form over the coming months, she could finish the season with a record points tally -- obliterating the current best mark of 2,414 set by retired Slovenian Tina Maze.

"I don't know if I will ever be able to do that. It's not really one of my goals," said Shiffrin, who has made the podium in 23 of her past 24 slaloms. "I also have so much respect for the season that Tina Maze had with so many points, it was incredible.

"There is a part of me that hopes that nobody ever beats that because she should really be remembered as one of the best ski racers of all time."

The greatest ever?

Despite Lindsey Vonn's stellar career with 78 World Cup wins so far, Shiffrin could become the most successful skier in US history, according to fellow American Bode Miller -- an Olympic gold medallist and two-time world champion.

"I think she's maybe the best ski racer I've ever seen, male or female," said Miller, who called an end to a glittering career in November 2017.

"She's so balanced, dynamic, intense and focused, so for me, I think she's got a chance in any event she skis in."

The 40-year-old Miller won six Olympic medals across five Games from 1998-2014 and says Shiffrin could match his total in South Korea if she competes in all five skiing disciplines. She already has one OIympic medal -- slalom gold from Sochi in 2014.

"I would say she has an outside shot at five [Winter Olympic] medals," added Miller.

Where does Shiffrin rank among the greatest alpine skiers ever? Have your say on CNN Sport's Facebook page

The upcoming Winter Olympics take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, from February 9-25 2018.

But first for Shiffrin and company is the next FIS Alpine Ski World Cup event in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia from January 6-7.

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