Shiffrin unveils Mikaela Way
AVON — Mikaela Shiffrin saw how hard it was raining Monday and thought no one would show up for her street dedication ceremony.
Shiffrin’s fans have proven, however, that they’ll show her support in any conditions.
“Having the young ski racers out there in shorts and skirts and in total summer attire … their enthusiasm toward ski racing and towards sports and school and life is so refreshing to me,” she said.
A crowd of two dozen or so young ski racers joined Shiffrin in a rain-soaked parade Monday evening, following her along Benchmark Road in Avon to its intersection with the newly named “Mikaela Way” (formerly West Benchmark Road), where Shiffrin tore down a gold tarp covering the road sign to reveal for the first time the meandering road that has been named after her.
“It has the library, so it’s an educational street, I’d like to think, and leads right to the rec center. It’s really cool,” she said. “It’s surreal to have a street named after me.”
Eagle resident Emma Kate Burns, 11, was among those holding the Shiffrin banner during the parade. Her brother, 16-year-old Davis Burns, carried a Mikaela face-ka-bob which he had been saving for nearly a year.
“I got it last November at the World Cup,” he said. “Now Mikaela’s going to sign it.”
Kids were given Shiffrin posters and cards, which the Olympic gold medalist signed with personalized messages to every kid present.
“Hopefully I’ll see some of you young kids out there as my teammates,” she told the young athletes, who were participating on behalf of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, Avon Elementary and the Buddy Werner League.
Being a teammate of Shiffrin’s, however, can be a rough-and-tumble business. At the dedication, Shiffrin was sporting a bandaged eye from an injury given to her accidentally by a teammate.
“I was doing some balance training exercises and I hit my teammate’s knee with my eyebrow, and it was like the skin-on-skin collision just pulled my eyebrow apart,” she said. “I was bloody everywhere and she was like, ‘Oh my god!’”
Fortunately, “I didn’t get a concussion or anything,” Shiffrin added.
SEASON STARTING SOON
Despite the battered brow, Shiffrin is feeling 100 percent healthy heading into the World Cup season, which begins Oct. 24 in Soelden, Austria.
“I’m so excited. Just two weeks ago it hit me that the season is coming up. It’s going to snow soon. This time of the year is so exciting,” she said.
Shiffrin leaves the Vail Valley Tuesday for Chicago; she’ll stay in the states a few days and before heading to Austria, where she’ll remain until the first World Cup event is over.
She’ll be back in the Vail Valley by the end of the month, her mother said Monday.
“We come back to Vail in November and it’s that really crisp, mountain wintery air, but it’s like fresh winter, not the stale winter that you get in the spring,” Eileen Shiffrin said. “I love this time of year.”
Mikaela Shiffrin confirmed the U.S. Ski Team’s plan is to give her a shot at possibly racing the more speed-oriented super-G event at the 2015 World Championships in addition to the technical disciplines of giant slalom, where she found success at Beaver Creek last season, and slalom, where she will attempt to defend her title as world champion.
“Right now the plan is I’m going to do one of the super-Gs in the World Cup event before world champs and see if I can qualify to race the World Championships super-G,” she said.