Mikaela Shiffrin had some ups-and-downs to her 2018 Winter Olympics, but looking back on things, she views the Games as a “massive success.”
Shiffrin began the Olympics with a gold medal in the giant slalom on Thursday. The following day she competed in the slalom — her best event — and came in fourth, which was a disappointment.
After that, Shiffrin decided to sit out Saturday’s super-G and the downhill on the following Wednesday so she could focus on the combined on Thursday. She won silver in that event.
Initially expected to compete in five events and do well in several of them, Shiffrin had to cut out two events and medaled in two. She’s proud of what she accomplished even if it’s not quite what she was hoping for before the Olympics began.
“Sitting here with you, I can look back and say this was a massive success. I’m pretty over the moon about it,” Shiffrin told NBC’s Mike Tirico in an interview that aired on Friday night in the US.
Shiffrin also said the weather conditions, which pushed several events back on the schedule and ultimately led her to drop out of two events, was the toughest thing for her to deal with.
“That was the most difficult part of this Games for me. The schedule changes, and then having back-to-back races in my two best events, especially with my strongest event being held second. That was maybe the most difficult thing for me. I don’t think I could have done any better (in the slalom).”
Shiffrin finally realized that much of what happened was out of her control, and she’s learned to accept that and be proud of what she was able to accomplish given the circumstances. She now has two golds and a silver in her Olympic career. The two Olympic gold medals tie her for the most ever by an American alpine skier.
Mikaela Shiffrin did not have the most optimistic outlook after completing the first portion of the women’s combined event at the Winter Olympics on Thursday in South Korea.
Lindsey Vonn blew away most of the field with a time of 1:39.37 on the downhill portion of the combined. Shiffrin finished 1.98 seconds behind her, which placed her sixth in the standings.
Asked after her run in the downhill whether she thought she could make up the time in the slalom run, Shiffrin was not so sure.
“We’ll see. Two seconds on Lindsey (Vonn), I’m not sure how much I can make up,” Shiffrin told NBC’s Heather Cox. “But I’m in a good position to fight for it and to do my best slalom skiing and see where it ends up.”
Shiffrin’s best event is the slalom, while downhill is Vonn’s specialty, so she certainly will have a chance to make up some time. But like she said, two seconds will be a lot to make up.
There was some love shared between Team USA skiers on Wednesday in PyeongChang.
Lindsey Vonn won a bronze medal in the women’s downhill event in what she has said will be her final time competing in the event at the Olympics. According to NBC Sports, at 33, Vonn is the oldest alpine skier to win a medal at the Winter Olympics.
That wasn’t lost on Mikaela Shiffrin, who tweeted her congratulations to all of the Americans in the event, especially Vonn, whom she called the “GOAT” – which is an acronym for “greatest of all-time.”
Shiffrin was initially scheduled to compete in the downhill but she pulled out, so she was cheering on her teammates instead. Clearly she was proud of what they were able to accomplish without her in the event.
Mikaela Shiffrin says she still is not sure whether she will compete in the women’s downhill skiing event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Shiffrin on Monday went through her second training run in the downhill and had a time of 1:41.55. Afterwards, she told NBC that she still was not sure if she would compete in the event, which is on Wednesday.
“I want to, for sure. But I’m kind of going to see how it goes tomorrow because I definitely want to pick up my speed in sections. That’s kind of my biggest goal for tomorrow, and then we’ll see,” Shiffrin said.
As she indicated in her interview, Shiffrin is planning to ski in a third training run on Tuesday.
Shiffrin entered the Olympics planning to compete in five events — giant slalom, slalom, super-G, downhill and combined — but that plan went out the window with the poor weather conditions. The bad weather delayed competitions, compacted the schedule, and led Shiffrin to drop out of the super-G. She won gold in the giant slalom but failed to medal in the slalom. She vomited before her slalom run and later admitted she was nervous.
Shiffrin may choose to skip the downhill if she does not feel like she can medal in the event, that way she can conserve her energy and shift her focus to the combined. After all, Shiffrin does not want to have another performance that ends as a “big disappointment.”
In what was supposed to be her best event, U.S. skiier Mikaela Shiffrin finished fourth in the women’s slalom event — a finish that she openly admitted was a huge disappointment.
Shiffrin was regarded as a heavy favorite to win gold, but finished four-tenths of a second off the pace, and her time wasn’t even good enough for the podium.
The 22-year-old admitted that her own expectations weighed heavily on her.
“I think it’s more my own expectations, knowing the magnitude of what I’m trying to do,” Shiffrin said, via Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports. “It’s less about what everyone wants to see. When I get into the start gate, it’s about what I want to accomplish. Today, I didn’t feel I was up to the challenge when I was skiing. It was a big disappointment.
“I don’t have an explanation. I’m going to be going back and evaluating the whole day … we’ll all figure out what happened today to try to avoid it in the future.”
The 2018 Winter Olympic Games are underway, and it’s time to familiarize yourself with some U.S. athletes you need to root for. Here’s a look at 15 of the most important U.S. athletes competing at the Winter Games and what they hope (and many believe) they can accomplish.
15. Kelly Clark, snowboarder
34-year-old Kelly Clark is no stranger to Olympic competition, having competed in every single Winter Games since 2002. She won halfpipe gold in 2002 and then brought home bronze in the same event in both 2010 and 2014. Clark is also a one-time Winter Dew Tour gold medalist, one-time New Zealand Winter Games gold medalist ,and a five-time Winter X Games gold medalist. Her wealth of experience not only puts her ahead of the competition, but becomes exceptionally valuable for Team USA as a whole.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to represent my country to the rest of the world, to represent snowboarding and women, it’s been one of the greatest privileges of my life,” Clark told PEOPLE. “And it’s really fun as an athlete because you work four years for a 30-second halfpipe run, so you really get to see what you built. It’s really a rubber-meets-the-road type of situation.”