Mikaela Shiffrin said she “ran out of oxygen” halfway down the course as she fought through illness to win an unprecedented fourth slalom title at the world championships.
Speaking with a croaky voice, Shiffrin said “I was just trying to fight to stay on the course” and that she “certainly had a lot of doubt today.”
On where this performance ranked in her career, Shiffrin said “today was something else.”
Mikaela Shiffrin fought through sickness to win an unprecedented fourth straight slalom title at the world championships.
The American, who was skiing with a chest cold, improved from third place after the first run to win by 0.58 seconds over Anna Swenn Larsson of Sweden.
It was a second gold of these championships for Shiffrin after winning the super-G. She also took bronze in the giant slalom.
No Alpine skier had previously won the same discipline at four successive worlds.
Petra Vlhova of Slovakia took the bronze medal.
Wendy Holdener of Switzerland held a 0.11-second lead over Anna Swenn Larsson after the first run in the slalom at the world championships, with Mikaela Shiffrin 0.15 back in third place.
Holdener is looking to capture a second gold at these championships after winning the Alpine combined.
Shiffrin, who is racing with a chest cold, trained with Holdener on Friday and the American said she was “about as far behind her as I am right now. So a little bit I can see the writing on the wall and she’s going to be really high level today.”
Racing on a soft course in light snow and under brightening skies, Swenn Larsson thrilled the flag-waving Swedes in the crowd by finishing ahead of Shiffrin and getting into medal contention on her home course.
Petra Vlhova of Slovakia was in fifth place, 0.46 seconds off the lead, as she attempts to back up her win in the giant slalom on Thursday.
Results weren’t official as lower-ranked skiers were yet to finish.
Mikaela Shiffrin is fighting a chest illness as she looks to win gold in the slalom at the world championships.
After Shiffrin finished behind leader Wendy Holdener and Anna Swenn Larsson in her first run, U.S. ski team spokeswoman Megan Harrod said Shiffrin “has a chest cold” and had “low energy.”
After 20 racers in the 98-woman field, Shiffrin was in third place.
The weather’s turned ugly for Mikaela Shiffrin’s last race at the skiing world championships.
Fog has descended over the course at Are, Sweden, and the wind has slightly picked up again ahead of the slalom, which Shiffrin starts as favorite.
The American is looking to capture her second gold medal of these championships, having already won the super-G. She also took bronze in the giant slalom.
Her biggest rival is likely to be Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, who won the giant slalom.
Shiffrin is second on the course, and Vlhova is sixth.