What’s next for the women’s ski World Cup?
Do whatever you need to do for yourself and your family, Mikaela
So what next for the women’s World Cup?
We start by stipulating that Mikaela Shiffrin should do whatever she feels she needs to do in the wake of her father’s passing. If that’s taking off two weeks, terrific. If she wants to call it a season, that’s fine. If she’d like to make her first appearance back on the slopes during the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, that’s cool, too.
Mikaela has nothing to prove to anyone in terms of race wins, World Cup points, globes or medals. She’s got everything, often in duplicate or triplicate. Ski racing is immaterial right now.
The most important thing is the well-being of the Shiffrin family as they mourn their father/husband.
We take this moment to reiterate a portion of what Shiffrin tweeted in announcing her father’s passing.
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“Thank you, from the depths of my heart, for respecting my family’s privacy as we grieve during this unimaginable and devastating time,” Shiffrin wrote.
Where things stand
Again, with the rock-solid belief that Shiffrin and her family should do anything and everything it needs to do with regard to this process, the World Cup schedule does continue. Shiffrin leads the overall with 1,125 points, ahead of Italy’s Federica Brignone (955) and Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova (830).
Shiffrin tops the slalom chase (Vlhova, 440-360), is second in giant slalom (behind Brignone, 375-314), third in super-G (Brignone 216, Switzerland’s Corinne Suter 200 and Shiffrin at 186), and even second in downhill (Suter’s ahead, 272-256.)
Shiffrin bowed out of last weekend’s World Cup events in Rosa Khutor, Russia, before her father passed. The 2014 Olympic site was meant to host a downhill and a super-G. Due to heavy snow, there was only super-G and Brignone was the winner.
The Russian downhill has been moved to this weekend, so Garmisch, Germany, will have two DHs (Friday and Saturday) and a super-G (Sunday). Shiffrin has issued no statement, but it’s no leap of the imagination to say she’s not racing this weekend, having flown back to Colorado already.
Under normal circumstances, which these are decidedly not, she would race in Maribor, Slovenia, with GS and slalom on Feb. 15-16. Shiffrin’s won four of her last five starts there, dating back to 2015.
Crans-Montana, Switzerland, has a downhill and a combined on Feb. 22-23, followed by La Thuile, Italy, on Feb. 29-March 1 (super-G and combined).
If I were to make a guess, the giant slalom and slalom on March 7-8 in Ofterschwang, Germany, would be it — the disciplines best suited to Shiffrin and a bit more than a month of time. The season wraps with a parallel slalom in Stockholm (March 10), tech events in Are, Sweden, (March 13-14) and the World Cup finals in Cortina, Italy, (March 18-22).
Everyone’s mileage may vary. As my mom said in a rare bout of humor after Pop died, “I don’t know. This is the first time my husband has died.” When such a traumatic event happens, everyone’s in a “new normal” — including my mom making a tasteless, yet funny joke — and there’s no predicting anything. Maybe, Shiffrin wants to absorb herself in skiing and comes back for Maribor?
Bottom line: It’s up to you, Mikaela, and your family. Much love and respect, whatever you chose.