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Teen ski champ Mikaela Shiffrin: I spill things, break things and trip a lot

Young U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin won the Crystal Globe for the overall World Cup slalom title.

Story highlights

  • Teenage U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin wins World Cup slalom title
  • Three days after her 18th birthday, Shiffrin overhauls Tina Maze
  • She sets the fastest time of the second run to take title from overall champion
  • Compatriot Ted Ligety caps golden season with sixth victory in giant slalom

A week can be a long time when you're one of the planet's best young skiers.

On Wednesday, Mikaela Shiffrin turned 18. On Saturday she added the World Cup slalom crown to last month's world championships title, and on Tuesday she'll be back from Europe to appear on U.S. national television.

"Hopefully I don't trip when I'm going on stage. If you knew me for longer than a day you would know that I spill things and I break things and I trip a lot. You would not think I'd be good at slalom."

But she's so good that she denied the world's best female skier this season yet another accolade at the finale in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Tina Maze had been poised to add the slalom title to her overall, giant slalom and super-G Crystal Globes, having been denied the downhill when fog canceled racing on Shiffrin's birthday.

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The Slovenian was the fastest on the opening run, and led the standings by seven points, but Shiffrin made up a 1.17-second deficit to claim her fourth World Cup race this season and become the fourth youngest woman to win the title.

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She is only the third non-European to win the slalom globe, following compatriot Tamara McKinney in 1984 and Canadian Betsy Clifford in 1971. No other non-European woman has won four World Cup races in a season.

"I was freaking out, this time there was really too much emotion," said Shiffrin, who last month in Austria was the youngest winner of the slalom title at a world championships since 1974.

"I think half of this globe belongs to someone else today. I actually would like to thank Tina Maze. She's been inspiring, she's helped me get to where I am."

Read: Pop queen Maze does it her way

She's also had strong support from her parents and coaching staff.

"After the first run I went directly to our athlete tent and just tried to sit quietly and figure out what I needed to do to make it better," Shiffrin said.

"It's hard to do that between runs in a race, but my mom helped, my coaches helped, my dad helped, everybody. They all just said the same thing, 'You have to let it go. You cannot hold back. There is nothing to lose.' So I tried to do that."

Maze had to settle for third place behind Austria's Bernadette Schild for her 23rd podium finish this season.

"In the first run I risked a lot and somehow in the second I didn't manage to risk as much," the 29-year-old said.

"Mikaela has been dominating slalom the whole season and I don't think I lost the globe here today, but somewhere else."

Maze has already wrapped up the giant slalom globe ahead of Sunday's final race -- and American Ted Ligety confirmed his dominance of the men's discipline when he crowned his season with a sixth victory out of eight starts on Saturday.

"It's so ridiculous, it has been such an amazing year," said Ligety, who won three golds at the world championships and sealed the giant slalom globe last weekend with victory in Slovenia.

"I never would have expected it and in a way it's kind of a bummer as I will never be able to do that again. A really cool season and to finish it up with a victory. I couldn't be more pleased."

Overall World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher was second to be giant slalom runnerup, and has already clinched the slalom title ahead of Sunday's final race.

"I cannot sleep. My head is so full, I keep thinking and thinking and trying to digest it all," the Austrian said.

"So much has happened this season and I have not had any time to get into terms with it."