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Sensational Katharina Liensberger ends Mikaela Shiffrin’s slalom reign at worlds

Austrian skier Katharina Liensberger won the women’s slalom at the alpine skiing world championships on Saturday, ending American star Mikaela Shiffrin’s streak of four straight world titles in the discipline.

Liensberger posted the fastest time in both runs to beat Petra Vlhova of Slovakia by one second.

“It’s amazing. I really gave it all today and I worked so hard for it,” gasped the Austrian, who led Vlhova by 0.30 after the first run and extended that advantage to finish exactly a second clear.

“It was so often so near and so close. I won this race and it means so much to me,” added the first Austrian women’s slalom world champion since Marlies Schild in 2011.

Liensberger shared gold with Marta Bassino in Tuesday’s parallel event and became the first double world champion who it is yet to win a World Cup event.

The Austrian was on the podium in all five World Cup slaloms this season.

Shiffrin was fourth after the first run but secured her record-tying 11th world championship medal after Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener, who had been third, was unable to hold on to her position and missed out by 0.36.

The bronze was Shiffrin’s fourth medal in Cortina d’Ampezzo, where the 2026 Winter Olympics will be staged, and extended her record as the all-time US skier with most world championship medals.

The American’s four medals were the most for any skier at a single worlds since Sweden’s Anja Pärson in 2007. Shiffrin leaves Italy with gold from the combined event, silver in giant slalom and bronze in super-G as well as Saturday’s medal.

“It*s been a pretty incredible couple of weeks,” she said. “I never imagined I would win four medals and one world championship. It’s a spectacular feeling.”

Shiffrin’s 11th career medal at worlds equalled Pärson’s for the most by a woman in the modern era (since 1948).

Italy’s Federica Brignone ended her championships in disappointment, the reigning overall World Cup champion hitting a gate on the first run and falling in her last attempt to medal on home snow.

Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin, bronze medallist in the combined and the only woman to interrupt Vlhova and Shiffrin’s winning run in the discipline on the World Cup circuit, also failed to finish the first run.

The world championships, held in odd years, conclude on Sunday with the men’s slalom.

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