(Reuters) – Double Olympic gold medallist Mikaela Shiffrin marked her return to the Alpine ski World Cup circuit after a gap of 300 days with a second-placed finish in the slalom in Levi, Finland, on Saturday.
The 25-year-old American missed last month’s season-opening giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, with a back injury but showed no signs of the problem, finishing 0.18 seconds behind Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova who clocked a total of one minute 50.11 seconds after her two runs.
Austria’s Katharina Liensberger took third place.
“It felt like my first victory; it’s a really special day,” three-times World Cup overall champion Shiffrin, who last raced in January, told usskiandsnowboard.org https://usskiandsnowboard.org/news/shiffrin-second-world-cup-return-finds-joy-ski-racing-again.
Shiffrin had been set to return to competitive action in March for the final races of the 2019-20 season after taking more than a month out following the death of her father Jeff but the COVID-19 crisis ended the season prematurely.
“A good thing was that a lot of the feeling today was similar to what I felt in the past. Maybe that means I didn’t lose it all — my ability to ski fast or to try to be strong and come back… be hungry and competitive,” she added.
“One of the big reasons I wanted to come back and race was to see if this was something I could still do. And we’re here and it was okay. I still enjoyed it. That’s good.”
The women will be back in action on Sunday for the second slalom race of the weekend.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)