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Mikaela Shiffrin to skip World Cup Russian races

Mikaela takes a well-deserved break

Mikaela Shiffrin took a month-long break from the World Cup season following the death of her father.
Marco Tacca | AP

Mikaela Shiffrin will be saying nyet to this weekend’s World Cup events in Rosa Khutor, Russia, the Alpine site of the 2014 Olympics.

The U. S. Ski Team tweeted on Tuesday that Shiffrin “will not be heading to the World Cup in Sochi this weekend. She’ll be taking the week off to rest and get a solid training block in.”

It’s not surprising that Shiffrin is taking the weekend off after a busy stretch of six races during the last two weeks in Flachau, Austria, Sestriere, Italy, and Bansko, Bulgaria.

Bulgaria was a particularly nice stop as she won Friday’s downhill and Sunday’s super-G.

After winning on Sunday, Shiffrin posted an interesting entry on Facebook.

“Every race is such a big fight and this season I haven’t been the one on top of this fight every time. Certainly, I’ve been feeling sometimes like the expectations that I have or that other people may have, I’m not quite living up to that. It’s hard not to feel like I’m failing sometimes, even though this is an incredible season. But I want to thank you for your support…”

Allowing for a little perspective, it was nigh unto impossible for her to repeat her 2018-19 season in which she won a record 17 World Cups. There was no way she was going to win the overall, the super-G, the giant slalom, and the slalom globes again, even though she is leading in all of those categories except for GS, where she is in second place.

When one summarizes her 2019-20 season to date, one writes, “Mikaela Shiffrin has won six World Cups,” as if that were a disappointing result. While the number pales in comparison to 17, every other athlete on the World Cup would give vital organs to have six World Cup wins in a season.

The numbers bear that out. Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova, as much as she has been a thorn in Shiffrin’s side, has four World Cup wins this season. Last year was her breakout campaign and she still won “only” five times. Henrik Kristoffersen also got his fourth win on Tuesday.

With six wins — and still, two full months left in the season — Shiffrin has already doubled up Alexis Pinturault, Matthias Mayer, and Federica Brignone, all of whom have one three times this season.

Looking ahead on the calendar, after the stop in Russia, the tour hits Garmisch, Germany, for a downhill and super-G. We don’t know Shiffrin’s plans for those races, but we’ll bet the house that she’ll be in Maribor, Slovenia, for GS and slalom on Feb. 15-16


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