Established Veteran and Budding Superstar: US Women’s Alpine Ski Team On Fire

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The future of US (and Oakley) Women’s Alpine Ski Racing looks very, very bright. While grizzled veteran and known legend of the sport, Lindsey Vonn inches her way closer to becoming the winningest women’s alpine ski racer in the history of the sport, a young, budding superstar is inching her way into the public eye as well. Mikaela Shiffrin is having her coming out season, with multiple Audi FIS Alpine Ski World Cup victories under her belt at the ripe age of 17. The legend of Lindsey Vonn continues during the 2013 season and the youngster who has been dubbed possibly “the next Lindsey Vonn” is making a name for herself in the sport at the same time.

Lindsey Vonn

There is no doubt; Lindsey Vonn has already achieved icon status in not only the sport of alpine skiing, but across all genres. She’s one of the most highly recognized and marketable female athletes on the planet. While she’s experienced great success and a lifetime of achievements, she wants it made very clear that she has her sights on many more great accomplishments and World Cup victories. Up next for Lindsey; Austrian Annemarie Moser-Proell’s World Cup victory record of 62.

Last weekend in Cortina, Italy, Vonn returned to the slopes after a second stint of time off this season, due to an illness, to claim the downhill title and her 58th career victory. With her fifth victory of the season, Vonn moved to within four of the all-time mark. Vonn beat World Cup overall leader Tina Maze of Slovenia by nearly a half second. Despite sitting out a number of races this season, Vonn still remains fourth in the World Cup Overall standings, while maintaining the top spot in the downhill standings.

“Cortina is a place where I’ve had a lot of success,” said Vonn, of her victory in Italy. “So I knew what I needed to do and I was finally able to put all of the pieces together.”

“Right now I’m just trying to focus on one race at a time,” Vonn said when asked if she could reach the all-time record this season. “It’s definitely possible if I continue to ski like I did today.”

Milaela Shiffrin

As we told you earlier, Mikaela Shiffrin is a super-star in the making. She’s only seventeen-years-old, but she’s grabbing the attention of the world with her dazzling alpine ski racing performances. Earlier in the season, Shiffrin recorded her first ever Audi FIS Alpine World Cup victory in Are, Sweden, after a few near misses from the podium. She quickly followed her breakthrough performance with a slalom victory in Zagreb, Croatia. She wasn’t done there. Last week, the youngster won the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup slalom race in Flachau, Austria for her third career victory. She dominated the field, topping the podium by a .85 second margin over her nearest competitor. With her victory in Flachau, 17-year-old Shiffrin collected a cool $58,000, securing the biggest purse of the Audi FIS Alpine World Cup season. Her remarkable season has Shiffrin sitting fifth in the overall World Cup standings.

“My secret is to not let anything stop me, “ Shiffrin said after her third career victory. “Sometimes the crowd gets into your head and all of a sudden you’re nervous but instead I just let them take me to the finish.”

Mikaela Shiffrin is in a world of her own. A budding superstar, a youngster rising in the rankings, a young prodigy, a legend in the making. Call her what you will; Shiffrin is the real deal and she’s here to stay. Already drawing comparisons to the aforementioned great Lindsey Vonn and all-time win leader Annemarie Moser-Proell, Shiffrin remains humble and still learns from her peers. She speaks of watching the older skiers from a young age and dreaming of one day being on the big stage she is today.

“I watched a lot of the older girls ever since I was five,” she stated. “So I think I gained a lot of experience watching them over and over to the point I was dreaming about skiing in my sleep.”

It’s no longer a dream. The Oakley ladies are in prime form. Whether its the legendary veteran, Lindsey Vonn aiming at notching another major record (and perhaps her most prestigious), or a young 17-year-old star in the making, Mikaela Shiffrin continuing to prove her remarkable, promising career in World Cup skiing, the Oakley Alpine Ski Team is in full effect. Keep your eyes on the American ladies as they continue to top Audi FIS Alpine World Cup podiums around the world.