Mikaela Shiffrin drops out of speed events in France
Next stop: Lienz, Austria for tech races
Apparently, we have a change of plans.
Mikaela Shiffrin announced on Thursday that she will be withdrawing from this weekend’s World Cup races in Val d’Isere, France. She was scheduled to compete in Saturday’s downhill and Sunday’s combined.
This is a change of change. After taking third in a World Cup super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Saturday, Shiffrin announced that she would skip Sunday’s parallel slalom event in order to compete in the speed events in Val d’Isere.
This is the one year out of four when the World Cup does not have to stop for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships or the Olympics, so the season schedule is less condensed. This seemed like a good opportunity for Shiffrin, the three-time World Cup champion and primarily a tech specialist, to branch out into competing in more speed.
Then came Tuesday’s 17th-place finish in Courchevel, France. While not a life-altering event, it was by Shiffrin’s excruciatingly high standards a poor showing.
Shiffrin did not go in Thursday’s downhill training run in Val d’Isere and then announced the news on Twitter, typing, “Wellllll I wanted to try for @valdisere. I was pretty excited, really-and it would have been the first time that I made that schedule work…but I have to get some work done now, so Merry Christmas and see you in Lienz!”
Lienz, Austria, is the site of a giant slalom on Dec. 28 and a slalom the following day. Shiffrin hasn’t appeared to suffer any injury in her recent races nor made any announcement about any incidents in training, so this seems to be a quick reset during the season.
As with pretty much all technical race sites, Shiffrin has made hay in Lienz in the three times she’s competed there dating back to 2011.
As a 16-year-old in 2011, she didn’t make the flip in the giant slalom but bounced back the next day to win bronze in the slalom, her first podium on the World Cup tour.
In 2013, she took third in the GS and second in the slalom. By 2017, the last time the white circus touched down there, she won the slalom and was third in a giant slalom.
Despite the disappointing showing in Courchevel and opting out of this weekend’s speed races in Val d’Isere, Shiffrin maintains a large lead in the World Cup standings with 546 points, well ahead of her nearest competitor, Italy’s Federica Brignone (381).