Despite slalom setback, Mikaela Shiffrin doing fine
OK, here are the things Mikaela Shiffrin is doing wrong at the 2018 Olympics.
She doesn’t look happy enough when she finishes a race and she apparently has some nerves at the start gate.
And no medal in slalom happens.
The first is simply an issue for the Vail Daily on deadline, and her tears of joy in the finish area after her giant-slalom win simply did not reflect the story for our cover.
For those who attended the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Shiffrin didn’t have much of a reaction when she crossed the line on her way to winning slalom gold.
When asked why she didn’t react in 2015, she said, “I don’t know. I’m kinda a dork.”
You’re a very cool dork, Mikaela
As for the nerves, well, you do you, Mikaela. Might I recommend a light breakfast in the future?
The giant slalom
It was a bravura performance.
• The shockers of the first run were Manuela Moelgg, Viktoria Rebensburg and Tessa Worley. From where did Moelgg come? Nobody saw that happening. It’s great that she was leading the first run, but she wasn’t holding that lead.
Rebensburg and Worley had poor first runs, the latter especially so. Worley was more than a second behind Shiffrin, and essentially out of the running. Both had good second runs but had dug too deep of a hole.
• This is one sign of caliber of athlete Shiffrin is. Give her an inch — such as Rebensburg and Worley being off their game — and Shiffrin will take a mile. Shiffrin’s first run was not pedal to the metal, a wise choice in strategy given the newness of the hill and the seemingly endless wait for these races to start the postponements. Even though she was second by 2-tenths, she had laid down the marker that she was the one to beat.
• And the second run was the hammer. The scary thought is that Shiffrin did make a mistake on the lower part of the course and still won the race.
Alas, if you won gold every time, then that would be boring. The bigger surprise was no medal for Shiffrin.
As a reminder, there are other racers in the field — 77, to be precise — trying to win this thing. It’s not like they’re going to roll over and give Shiffrin the medal. If anything, Shiffrin has made it look too easy, if that’s a fault.
Thirty slalom wins in 58 World Cup starts, not to mention four golds in five starts between Worlds and the Olympics, is a ridiculous winning percentage. She had a bad 1 minute, 39.03 seconds.
• With her GS win, Shiffrin became only the third racer in American history to win two gold medals at the Olympics. The others were Andrea Mead Lawrence (GS and slalom in) 1952, and Ted Ligety (combined in 2006 and GS in 2014).
• She remains just 22 with the combined next week. (Yes, she is running in the downhill, but I’m betting she’s using that as an extra training run.) Shiffrin is going to get at least two more shots (2022 and 2026) at another Olympic slalom.
• And, by the way, Friday, Feb. 17, is women’s super-G day. We might have a good one going in that event.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.