Created on Saturday, 08 March 2014 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ARE, Sweden (AP) — Olympic champion Mikaela Shiffrin won a World Cup slalom on Saturday to retain her season-long title with one race remaining.
In her first slalom race since taking Olympic gold, the 18-year-old American led from start to finish just as she did at Sochi two weeks ago.
Shiffrin had a combined two-run time of 1 minute, 50.66 seconds, 0.60 ahead of Maria Pietilae-Holmner of Sweden. Another Swede, Anna Swenn-Larsson, got her first career podium finish in third, 1.50 back.
Shiffrin earned 100 World Cup points for her fourth victory of the season and moved 130 clear of Frida Hansdotter of Sweden, who placed fourth.
Five days before her 19th birthday, Shiffrin, who is from Vail, Colorado, now has Olympic and world championship gold medals and two World Cup titles in her specialist event.
In a tight race for the overall World Cup title, Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany retook the standings lead from Anna Fenninger of Austria, who does not race slalom.
Hoefl-Riesch placed seventh, trailing Shiffrin by 3.26, to earn 36 race points.
She moved 29 ahead of Fenninger as she seeks to repeat her 2011 overall title, which she won by just three points from American Lindsey Vonn.
The final four races are scheduled next week at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Shiffrin made the slalom finale next Saturday meaningless, with Hansdotter dropping from second-fastest in the first run.
Second-run racers coped with steadily falling snow and poor visibility after morning sunshine lit the first-leg course.
Shiffrin had the advantage of the second-leg gate-setting being designed by her personal coach on the U.S. team, Roland Pfeifer.