Mikaela Shiffrin Of US Ski Team Gives Emotional Interviews After 2nd Olympic Disappointment

Mikaela Shiffrin of US ski team gives emotional interviews after 2nd Olympic disappointment

Team USA skier Mikaela Shiffrin grew emotional in post-race interviews Wednesday when she tried to explain what happened to make her go off-course about five seconds into the slalom, her specialty event, just days after a previous bad run at the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“I think I just slipped,” Shiffrin told NBC. “I mean I had every intention to go full gas and there wasn’t really space in the course to, I don’t know, to slip, not even a little bit. I didn’t give myself space for that.”

She said in the past, that mentality has led to her best skiing, “but today I went out on the fifth gate.”

The American’s disappointment was compounded because on Monday she crashed just 11 seconds into the giant slalom race.

Holding back tears, she said her second “did not finish” result this week “makes me second-guess the last 15 years, everything I thought I knew about my own skiing and slalom and racing mentality.”

Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA sits on the side of the course after skiing out in the first run of the women's slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb.  9, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.  (Associated Press)

Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA sits on the side of the course after skiing out in the first run of the women’s slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (Associated Press)

The 26-year-old Coloradan is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, having won the slalom at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and the giant slalom at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

She also has a record 47 career World Cup wins in the slalom.

Out of control

In Wednesday’s event, Shiffrin began losing her balance and teetering out of control just four seconds and four gates in, swerving too far as she veered to her right. The neon yellow handle of her right ski pole scraped along the snow as she ended up way wide of the fifth gate.

Afterward, she clipped out of her skis and sat on the side of the course, resting her head on her knees for about 20 minutes as other racers skied by, an indelible image of her disappointment.

Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA skis out in the first run of the women's slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb.  9, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.

Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA skis out in the first run of the women’s slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.
(Associated Press)

“I will try to reset again and maybe try to reset better this time,” she told reporters later, according to The New York Times. “But I also don’t know how to do it better, because I just don’t. I’ve never been in this position before and I don’t know how to handle it.”

Shiffrin has three races left and her next chance comes Friday, but she suggested Wednesday she may opt out.

“It would be a pleasure to ski,” she told reporters of the super-G. “But I also have some teammates who are really fast, and we have the athletes who can fill the spaces. So if I’m going to ski out on the fifth gate, like, what’s the point?”

Shiffrin is known for her consistency and Monday’s “did not finish” was her first in that event since 2018.

Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA leaves the finish area after she skied out in the first run of the women's slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb.  9, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.

Mikaela Shiffrin of Team USA leaves the finish area after she skied out in the first run of the women’s slalom at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing.
(Associated Press)

“It feels like a really big letdown,” she said. “I was trying to kind of look back and think about the last days and what I’ve been trying to do and what I’ve been doing with my skiing that would suggest that on the fifth gate I would push myself a little bit too hard to actually stay on the course. There’s nothing that could have suggested that. I didn’t finish a single run. My skiing has been really solid.

“My entire career has taught me to trust in my skiing if it’s good skiing. And that’s all that I have to rely on, on these race days. And when the pressure is high, of course the pressure is high, but that didn ‘ t feel like the biggest issue today. “

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Former Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn and Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who had her own disappointments in the 2020 Summer Olympics last year, both sent Shiffrin love on Twitter.

Biles tweeted Schiffrin’s Twitter handle and three hearts and Vonn wrote: “Gutted for ikaMikaelaShiffrin but this does not take away from her storied career and what she can and will accomplish going forward. Keep your head high.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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