KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia — Mikaela Shiffrin, the 18-year-old Eagle-Vail ski racer, leads the Olympic slalom by 0.49 seconds after the first run.
“I’m not really worried about the lead right now,” Shiffrin said after her first run. “Actually, five-tenths isn’t even that much. It’s a two-run race.”
Her mom, Eileen, said that Mikaela is battling a bit of a cold, but has gained a lot of confidence from her Tuesday giant slalom run, in which she finished fifth in rainy conditions.
“That was a tough day and she was, looking back on it, super happy with how she did,” Eileen Shiffrin said. “So for sure that was a confidence booster. Today there’s better visibility and it’s not nearly as nasty.”
Mikaela said she was relaxed in the start gate.
“Thank goodness because there were a couple points throughout the day where I was like, ‘Oh my God, here we are,’” she said. “But I was relaxed in the start, and that was awesome.”
Maria Hoefl-Riesch, the defending Olympic champion in the slalom, stands in second place. Tina Maze, who has already won two golds in the downhill and giant slalom at these games, is in third place, 0.67 seconds back.
The second run will be under the lights at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Center. It is set to begin at 8:15 p.m. Sochi time — 9:15 a.m. in Vail.
Shiffrin currently leads the slalom standings on the World Cup circuit. She won the World Cup slalom globe last year and also the World Championship slalom race in Schladming, Austria.