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Mikaela Shiffrin wins third straight slalom world title, the first to do so in 78 years

Mikaela Shiffrin is on her way to becoming one of the youngest World Cup overall champions in history. (Peter Schneider/Keystone via AP)
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At just 21 years old, Mikaela Shiffrin has already made history. On Saturday, the Colorado native won her third world title in a slalom to become the first skier in 78 years to record the hat trick in that event since Germany’s Christl Cranz in 1939.

Shiffrin, who took home the gold at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, easily beat her competition with a time of 1:37.27, a massive 1.64 seconds ahead of Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener at the race in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It’s the largest margin of victory in the event since 1970, when France’s Ingrid Lafforgue beat American Barbara Ann Cochran by 1.71 seconds.

“I didn’t want to celebrate until I knew for certain I had won,” she said (via the Associated Press). “But when I saw 1.6, I thought, ‘Is the time wrong?’ That was a really special moment.”

A year ago, Lowell Bailey wanted to retire. Now he’s the first American to win a biathlon world title.

As far as tying that nearly eight-decade-old record, Shiffrin was equally as dumbfounded.

“To be honest, I don’t really know what that means yet,” Shiffrin said (via the Denver Post). “I wasn’t thinking about it until somebody mentioned it to me like five days ago. Today my real focus was just on the day, on both my runs and my own skiing. I was trying not to worry about anybody else and it worked well.”

That Shiffrin won on Saturday isn’t a surprise. She’s won every major title in the event since she was 17, and she was a clear favorite coming into the race.

Going forward, Shiffrin remains on track to become one of the youngest World Cup overall champions, although don’t expect her to ever get overconfident.

“I think about [becoming the overall World Cup champion] and it’s a dream to win, but I’m not expecting to win this year,” Shiffrin told the Denver Post last month. “… I’m just trying to focus on giant slalom and slalom and see what happens.”

Speaking of the giant slalom, Shiffrin took a silver medal in the event in Switzerland. Shiffrin’s time of 1:05.89 was 0.34 seconds behind winner Tessa Worley of France.

“I’m definitely happy to walk away from here with two medals,” Shiffrin told Eurosport on Saturday.