Mikaela Shiffrin skis out in Olympic giant slalom, misses chance at repeat gold
Course made of artificial snow challenged field
Mikaela Shiffrin’s quest to win another Olympic gold medal in giant slalom ended quickly Monday morning in China as the American superstar skied out early in her first run.
Shiffrin’s skis were chattering around the sixth gate, a right turn, and as she curved around the seventh gate, a left turn, she lost control of her skis and wound up on her left hip, sliding down the course for a short spell before returning to two skis.
She could not recover in time to remain in the course, leading to a disqualification. The giant slalom continues with a second run Monday afternoon.
“I was attacking and just a small mistiming of when I set my edges and just slipped out,” Shiffrin said on the live NBC broadcast. “It’s amazing surface, it’s just amazing conditions, but you don’t have any room for some small errors or anything like that.“
She added: “I mean, it’s hard not to dwell — especially for me — I’m always dwelling on these heartbreaking days, but I just can’t afford to spend or waste energy on something that’s now in the past. … I’m sorry that that was the performance I did today, but that also happens. I won’t hide the disappointment, but I’m also not going to dwell on that, because that’s not going to help at all.”
Shiffrin’s next shot at a medal will come in the slalom, on Wednesday. Before her fall Monday, it had been more than 30 starts since Shiffrin had skied out in a GS.
Sweden’s Sara Hector led the field following the first run with a time of 57.56 seconds. Katharina Truppe of Austria is 0.30 seconds off the pace in second, with Italy’s Federica Brignone in third 0.42 seconds back.
Shiffrin has four races remaining in these Beijing Olympics, but the giant slalom was seen as one of three prime opportunities for her to strike gold or win a medal of another hue. Giant slalom is the discipline in which Shiffrin claimed a gold medal four years ago at the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The course at the National Alpine Center in Yanqing, made of artificial snow, was causing headaches for the field of racers Monday, with a number of other disqualifications. The course opens with a steep, icy pitch and features a sharp turn to the right roughly 100 yards from the finish. With 47 gates and roughly 1,300 feet of vertical drop from top to bottom, the track is shorter than many on the World Cup circuit.
Shiffrin, who was born in Vail and calls Edwards home, was trying to become the first Alpine ski racer from the United States to win three Olympic golds.
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