Wednesday, 23 October, 2019

After Days Of Weather Delays, US Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Wins Gold

Christophe Ena  Associated Press Christophe Ena Associated Press
Shannon Reynolds | 17 February, 2018, 09:06

Mikaela Shiffrin narrowly missed a podium finish in the slalom at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, falling short in her bid to become the first US skier to win three gold medals and failing to win a medal in the event she won at the 2014 Games. And it was definitely worth the wait.

Hansdotter became the second Swedish woman to capture an Olympic slalom gold, joining Anja Paerson, who won the event at the 2006 Turin Games.

Shiffrin worked with a sports psychologist last winter to deal with growing anxiety over performing at an global level, USA Today reported, and the three-day delay of her first event had the potential to bring that anxiety to a crippling level. Indeed, her struggles seemed mental, and she noted that she got less sleep than usual on Thursday because of the giant slalom event and medal ceremony afterward.

The super-G is the first speed event of the women's Alpine skiing program at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The events earlier this morning offered a stern reminder for Shiffrin and the world just how hard this medal pursuit could be, how hard it will be to leave PyeongChang with a suitcase full of gold. "I can be a lot cleaner for the second run, so that's my goal".

Like Shiffrin, Brignone went down the hill in under 1:10.00 on her second run - and Brignone's combined time kept her in third place for a bronze medal.

The women's downhill takes place next Wednesday, with the combined event two days later.

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Mikaela Shiffrin Is Shut Out Of Medals In Slalom At Winter Olympics
And: "Every single loss I've had I remember so thoroughly it's like a piece of my heart breaks off and I can never get it back". No one - male or female - has ever successfully defended an Olympic slalom title, a stat that will continue to stand for now.

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"It was my 15 seconds to let it all out", Shiffrin said, "and now I've got to focus on tomorrow". "It's insane. There's so much emotion", Shiffrin said.

The gold medalist is known for taking her specific training regimes and rest habits very seriously.

Six athletes launch out of start gates and race down the course, peppered with jumps, sharp turns and other obstacles, all at the same time.

Dark-horse Gallhuber, just 20 and only ninth-fastest first time out, laid down a stunning second run to put herself in pole. She admitted she wasn't feeling well after her first run, where she finished 0.48 seconds out of first. "I was really letting it go as much as I could in that second run". But it's more about giving myself that opportunity, whether it's three events or four events. She is a huge favorite in that one, unlike the giant slalom, in which Shiffrin was merely a strong contender.

Friday's loss in the slalom leaves Shriffin with just two more opportunities to take gold. Despite PyeongChang being her fourth Winter Olympics, the 32-year-old has only earned one silver Olympic medal.

Perhaps the enormity of the Olympic Games caught up with Shiffrin. "Maybe, '" said her father, Jeff. Shiffrin was ready to ski all five alpine disciplines based on the original schedule.

After the race the 22-year-old stepped back from her suggestion that she was struggling with her health and said she had no excuses. This spring, Merryweather will enter Dartmouth College for the start of her freshman year.

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