The United States' Mikaela Shiffrin has won two World Cup races, both of which have come before she turned 18. Alexis Boichard, Getty Images
SCHLADMING, Austria (AP) - American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin became the youngest women's slalom world champion in 39 years on Saturday.
At the age of 17 years, 340 days, Shiffrin beat all of her more experienced rivals to earn the U.S. Ski Team its fourth gold and fifth medal overall at the worlds, more than any other nation.
"It's such a crazy day," Shiffrin said. "It's so emotional ... I don't know yet, I can't feel yet. It's amazing."
The 17-year-old Shiffrin was third after the opening run but finished in a combined time of 1 minute, 39.85 seconds to beat Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria by 0.22 and Frida Hansdotter of Sweden by 0.26.
After the race in front of a crowd of 30,000 had ended, Shiffrin looked around in disbelief before hugging second-place Kirchgasser several times. Shiffrin's parents Jeff and Eileen embraced each other at the stands.
"I keep saying it, I keep thinking it. It doesn't make sense. It's just me," Shiffrin said when being asked how it felt to be world champion.
Shiffrin said she was inspired by teammate Ted Ligety, who won the men's super-G, super-combined and GS titles.
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