Mikaela Shiffrin fought off a coughing spell that was so severe it caused stomach spasms to earn a record-setting fourth consecutive world slalom title Saturday.
The victory came at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships where Shiffrin clinched slalom gold in Are.
Shiffrin, 23, had reigned in the discipline in Schladming (2013), Beaver Creek (2015) and St Moritz (2017) before adding to her impressive haul in Sweden. She is now just one of two skiers to hold four world titles in a lone event, with Christl Cranz having four and five in the slalom and combined, respectively.
There was no guarantee of gold after a first run in which she trailed Wendy Holdener by 0.15 seconds, with home favorite Anna Swenn Larsson the closest to the Swiss after the opening effort.
“My mom said to me before the second run, ‘You don’t have to do this,’” Shiffrin said, via NBC Sports. “I was coughing so hard that my stomach was in spasms, and I couldn’t breathe, and then I kept coughing more.
“At what point do you say, No, I can’t do 60 seconds of skiing. I’m out here. I want to do it and whether I win or not, I just wanted to try. And when she said, You don’t have to, then I was sure that I wanted to.”
WHAT. A. WARRIOR. @MikaelaShiffrin goes down in history with her fourth consecutive title in the discipline. @Are2019 #are2019
— U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team (@usskiteam) February 16, 2019
However, Holdener made a costly error in her second run and slumped out of the top 15, while Shiffrin’s expert run of 59.82 seconds gave her a combined total of one minute and 57.05 seconds.
“I knew I had to fight really hard the second run because Anna and Wendy are so strong,” Shiffrin added. “The girls behind me were also really close. I just figured I have to be tough and try it and I just need 60 seconds to push, and I can do that for 60 seconds.”
Larsson was 0.58 seconds back of that time, while Petra Vlhova — who took gold in the giant slalom Thursday –—completed the podium.