US skiers step out of Shiffrin’s shadow with strong results

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United States' Breezy Johnson holds the trophy after finishing third in a alpine ski, women's World Cup downhill, in Val d'Isere, France, Saturday, Dec.19, 2020. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

For the first time since Lindsey Vonn’s retirement, the U.S. women’s ski team is no longer solely dependent on Mikaela Shiffrin for World Cup success.

Shiffrin was responsible for all 34 American podium results on the women’s circuit in the past two seasons, but three months into the current campaign, two team members have scooped top-three results as well.

Paula Moltzan finished runner-up in a parallel event in Austria in November, and Breezy Johnson added back-to-back third-place finishes in two downhills in France this month.

The season has also brought a string of career-best results for Nina O’Brien, Keely Cashman and AJ Hurt.

“I am really excited about and proud of our team,” Shiffrin said after placing third in the year-end night slalom in Semmering, Austria, on Tuesday.

“Everything is building. It’s been a really long time since we had this much depth within our entire ski team. It’s really cool to see that.”

With a women’s record of 82 World Cup victories behind her, Vonn retired in February 2019 after winning downhill bronze at the world championships, but her last World Cup podium came at the finals of the previous season, in March 2018.

That same season Shiffrin won her second overall title while Alice McKennis Duran and Jacqueline Wiles also scored podium results.