Mikaela Shiffrin dampens expectations before the start of the Olympics

Mikaela Shiffrin even outperforms T-Rex. In Beijing, she is prepared for anything – even possible disappointments.

Mikaela Shiffrin looks in disbelief and a little startled at the edge of the piste. Is there a Tyrannosaurus Rex breaking through the forest? Let’s get out! Shiffrin races away, leaving the T-Rex roaring hungry.

Like the dinosaur in the commercial for the US broadcaster “NBC” and the film series Jurassic Park, Shiffrin wants to outperform the competition at the Olympics. Her hunt for medals in all six competitions starts with the giant slalom on Monday (2:30/7:30 a.m. CET). “I have a pretty good feeling,” she says.

You can take that as a threat. Shiffrin even drives to the “podium” when she’s feeling bad. Despite back pain, she won the first giant slalom of the season. In the following slaloms she was plagued by “the worst jet lag of my life” – she finished second twice. “Nothing waiting for the Olympics will be that difficult,” she says.

In general, the six-time world champion looks back on some “challenging moments” – not only on the boards that mean the world to her. Almost exactly two years ago, this world was thrown upside down by the sudden accidental death of her father, Jeff. “It’s difficult not to think about it,” she says.

Shiffrin: “Impossible to have two perfect weeks”

Shiffrin took a month-long break at the time, but quickly regained his old strength. Then the back pinched, the travel was sluggish, maybe the fuss about her new love for downhill star Aleksander Aamodt Kilde was too much for her. When Corona slowed her down shortly after Christmas, she fell into a deep hole.

In January, Shiffrin retired in a slalom for the first time in four years. When she won the following race, she cried uncontrollably. Typical for the 26-year-old, who likes to show emotions and comes across as very American, but also very personable.

In her Olympic-crazy homeland, Shiffrin is the face of these games even before she starts. It’s very difficult, she says openly, to deal with the looming threat of “abandoning an entire country.” But it is also “very exciting” to win gold.

She has already done it twice: 2014 in the slalom, 2018 in the giant slalom. “Many people break down your entire career to the Olympics,” she knows, especially in the USA. “Everything else that was important becomes unimportant.”

It is “impossible to have two perfect weeks”. Something is always, even if only the coffee is cold. “These games will also have disappointments,” Shiffrin believes. With one that even depends on dinosaurs, the frustration should be limited.


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