Michaela Shiffrin’s nightmare Olympics stretched into Thursday when she was unable to complete the women’s combined slalom, the latest disappointment at the Beijing Olympics that the top alpine skiing winner will soon forget.
The 26-year-old American star appeared on her way to claiming a make-up medal on the final day of individual competition in Yanqing after setting the fifth-best time on the morning’s downhill segment, just 0.56 seconds clear of center leader Kristen Scheer of Austria and ahead of her. A host of contenders including Swiss pair Michel Geisen (0.13sec) and Wendy Holdner (0.43) along with Italian Federica Brignoni (0.44).
But Shiffrin, who has won more World Cup slaloms (47) than any male or female skater in history, was left to fight back tears on the side of the track after crashing about 10 gates in the afternoon slalom, ensuring she would leave Beijing. With no individual medals having been able to complete only two of the five women’s races.
“My plan, well, was very simple,” said Shiffrin. “Just spin, try to be clean, fresh on the outdoor skis. Specifically, I just wanted to be cool from the start and start the rhythm and build it up from there. Man, I just wanted to get a full round of slalom! I don’t know what If anyone has had a lot of chances for a medal at the Olympics and actually failed so many times in it.”
Jezin won the gold, after 12th fastest slalom with the fastest slalom of 2 minutes 25.67 seconds to defend her Olympic title in the event. Holdner finished 1.05 seconds behind to take the silver while Brignoni took the bronze, 1.85 seconds off the lead.
Shiffrin disqualified for lost entry early in her opening rounds Giant slalom last Monday And slalom Wednesday It was unexpected enough. After all, the Colorado-born native has only failed to finish the race twice within four years of entering the Beijing Olympics — and a total of 13 times in 228 starts across all disciplines at the World Cup, Olympics and World Championships.
Her third failure to reach the bottom of the course in these Olympics matches her total number of DNFs over the past four years.
said Shiffrin, whose three Olympic medals include gold in Meander in 2014 And at the Giant Slalom in 2018. “I didn’t feel pressure there. I mean, there’s always pressure but I didn’t feel… I felt comfortable and relaxed, like I knew my plan; center, good skate and I was doing it and it didn’t work yet.”
Shiffrin’s last chance to win a medal in Beijing in the mixed-team parallel slalom will come on Saturday, an event that debuted in 2018, when she joins Slovakian rival Petra Velhova as the second woman in history to compete in six Alpine events in one match. the Olympics.
The only man or woman to win World Cup races in all six disciplines, Shiffrin’s 73 career victories on the alpine rink are third on the all-time leaderboard, behind the great Swede Ingmar Stenmark (86) and longtime American teammate Lindsey Vonn. (82).
America’s big roster of trophies, including three World Cup titles and three Olympic medals, made her surprise loss in shape all the more exciting. But she managed to handle the toughest patch of her career with great self-awareness, candor, and extreme honesty.
Shiffrin, who called her opening races at this Olympics a “failure” after a He finished 9th in the Women’s Super G Championship on FridayTry to focus on the upside after the latest setback on Thursday.
“I’ve had a lot of support over the past few weeks, and I really appreciate that,” she said. “And I also have a bit of a lousy stormy, ‘what went wrong, put pressure, choke’ all of that stuff, and maybe there’s some truth in all of it. There doesn’t seem to be much to learn, just try to focus on good skating. What’s the phrase, take it On the chin? Like… If I can be the biggest joke in games, at least someone is smiling!”
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