Sat, 04 Dec 2021

BRATISLAVA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Slovakia's Petra Vlhova edged arch-rival Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States by 0.31 seconds to defend her slalom title at the season opening women's alpine skiing World Cup in the Finnish resort of Levi on Saturday.

German skier Lena Duerr finished third, trailing by 0.84 seconds.

Levi has become Vlhova's favorite and most successful resort as she won both slaloms here last year as well as in 2017.

"I like to ski on the snow in Levi, I am starting to love Finland and the local weather. It doesn't happen often that I win in the same resort two years in a row. I am happy that I did here," admitted the overjoyed Slovak skier after her 21st career victory.

The 26-year-old dominated both runs in Levi as she had no trouble navigating the rhythmic course laid out by the Swiss coach Christian Brill and made no mistakes.

"I did better on my second run as I tried to improve in the lower section which cost me some time in the first run. It paid out," said the Slovak skiing star after crossing the finish line.

Besides a gold medal, Vlhova, as the winner, will also receive a third reindeer calf from the Levi organizers, a tradition of the event starting from 2013.

Vlhova named the first one she got Igor after her father, the second is called Pepi after her mental coach.

"I will call the new one Michal probably, that's the name of my boyfriend, the love of my life," said Vlhova about the latest addition to her virtual private zoo.

After a third place in the season opener in Soelden and not participating in the parallel slalom in Lech, Vlhova is now third in the overall World Cup cup standings. Shiffrin leads with 180 points.

The event in Levi continues on Sunday with the second slalom race.

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