Mikaela Shiffrin to skip season-opening ski race with back issue, returns home | AspenTimes.com

Mikaela Shiffrin to skip season-opening ski race with back issue, returns home

Eric Willemsen
The Associated Press
Mikaela Shiffrin competes in a 2019 women's World Cup downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Frank Gunn/AP | The Canadian Press

VIENNA — Mikaela Shiffrin postponed her return to World Cup skiing for at least another month on Friday, pulling out of next week’s season-opening giant slalom in Austria with a back issue.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time overall World Cup champion, who hasn’t raced in nearly nine months, said she tweaked her back while skiing last week.

“I have been advised to sit Soelden out to let my back heal so I can race the rest of the season,” Shiffrin wrote on Instagram.

The U.S. ski team added that “Mikaela will plan to head back to the States to rest and recover, and her return to competition is TBD.”

The next races on the World Cup calendar are two parallel slaloms on Nov. 13-14 in another Austrian resort, Lech.

Shiffrin has struggled with back issues before but never sat out a World Cup race for that reason.

“Having started in Soelden for the last eight years straight, this feels… really frustrating and strange (for lack of better words). Luckily, this injury will heal and I will be back in the start soon,” said Shiffrin, who finished on the podium in Soelden five times in the past six years, winning the race in 2014.

“Okay, maybe my countdown has been delayed, but the big countdown is ON and I can’t wait for it to start,” she added.

Shiffrin has not raced since picking up her 66th career victory at a super-G in Bulgaria on Jan. 26.

First, she returned home to the United States and took a five-week break following the death of her father, Jeff Shiffrin, in early February. And when she planned to come back at races in Sweden in mid-March, the remainder of the season was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Federica Brignone ending Shiffrin’s thee-year reign as overall champion.

Earlier this week, Shiffrin said she was wondering how much time she has left in ski racing, questioning how long all the traveling and being away from home will still be worth it.


OBERHOFEN, Switzerland — The International Ski Federation removed its top administrator from her job Friday, citing a “complete loss of confidence.”

Sarah Lewis, an expected candidate in the FIS presidential election postponed to June, had been secretary general of skiing’s governing body for 20 years. She’s a former British alpine racer.

FIS announced the decision by its ruling council in a terse statement that gave no further details.

The president since 1998, Gian Franco Kasper, announced plans to step down this year in an election postponed twice by the coronavirus pandemic.

FIS has had only two presidents, both Swiss men, for almost 70 years. The current Swiss ski federation president, 1993 downhill world champion Urs Lehmann, has declared his candidacy.

Two potential contenders from Sweden are FIS vice president Mats Arjes and the billionaire chairman of the Head ski and tennis brand, Johan Eliasch.


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