Community Connections: Mikaela Shiffrin answers the tough questions from kids (video)
After a busy and successful Olympics and Alpine World Cup season, Mikaela Shiffrin was happy to be back at home in Eagle-Vail with her family and sleeping in her own bed. But she always takes time to meet and greet her fans when she’s in town.
Shiffrin’s home town gym is The Athletic Club at the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa, which has an area called Mikaela’s Corner where she can keep in top racing shape during the off season. Just upstairs from the gym at Maya restaurant, a crowd of all ages gathered, but it was the kids in the audience who got to ask the ski racing star the questions.
The kids didn’t hold back and touched on some hard hitting topics like “when do you think you will reach your peak?” “Are you intimidated by the competition?” and “what fears do you have?”
“Wow,” said Mikaela, “you guys are asking the tough questions” as the crowd chuckled. But the adults were equally as curious as the kids to hear her answers.
When asked if she ever gets tired of ski racing her whole life, Mikaela replied “yes”. “With each passing year, I have to work harder to stay competitive. At the end of the season it is nice to know I won’t see another start gate or finish line for a while.”
She was also asked about lessons she learned at the Olympics. “My best event is slalom, and I didn’t medal in slalom. I felt like I failed my own identity, but I own up to my mistakes. Failing is a part of it, otherwise you won’t improve,” Shiffrin said.
“I think another big lesson I learned at the Olympics is that you have to be flexible. We had many changes in the schedule due to things we can’t control like the weather. It may not be the fasted person, but the person who can adapt to the changes, who wins the race.”
Disappointment was another topic the kids brought up and Shiffrin was candid about the way she is learning to handle it. “Sometimes I don’t deal very well and I become a tired, 23 year old girl that no one wants to be around. But then I have to always remember you are doing the world a disservice if you think the worst possible thing in life is that you disqualified,” Shiffrin said.
The kids also asked her some light-hearted questions, like what she wanted to be when she was little. “In kindergarten, I don’t know why, but I said I wanted to be a baseball player. I am not even good at throwing the ball or using a bat!”
Alas, she did not become a baseball player and was attracted to ski racing because of her brother. “He was two and a half years older and I wanted to do everything he did. We grew up loving sports because you can do it with your family. To me, skiing brings back that feeling I had as a little girl.”