Mikaela Shiffrin graces Sports Illustrated’s March cover, a rarity for a ski racer
VAIL — Extra, extra, read all about it.
Mikaela Shiffrin is on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s March issue and she’s dubbed “the world’s most dominant athlete.”
For readers of Sports Illustrated who do not live in a ski community, it may be controversial to call Shiffrin “the world’s most dominant athlete.”
The average American sports fan might be more inclined to focus on the likes of LeBron James, Tom Brady or Mike Trout.
It’s not the first time Shiffrin’s been on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She was the cover girl for the 2014 Olympics preview as well as after winning slalom in those games in Sochi.
She is, however, the first Olympic athlete, according to a press release from the U.S. Ski Team, to be on the cover in a non-Olympic year in recent years. The shoot for the Sports Illustrated cover took place Feb. 1 in Trentino, Italy, after Shiffrin won two World Cup speed races at the end of January in Bulgaria.
Shortly after the shoot, Mikaela got word that her father, Jeff, passed away suddenly, making this a poignant time for publication.
Greg Bishop, the author of the Sports Illustrated piece, wrote, “None of (her fame and success) mattered when the call came, when Shiffrin, only 24, learned that her father, Jeff, had suffered a grave injury in an accident at home in Colorado. Mikaela and her mother, Eileen, immediately flew back from Europe and were able to spend Jeff’s final hours by his side.”
The article profiles the well-known story of Shiffrin growing up and her parents, Jeff and Eileen, trying to instill a sense of normalcy in her life; her first World Cup podium, her Olympic wins and the spectacular success of her 2018-19 season.
The piece then transitions into how Shiffrin was trying to deal with this season and the accompanying unrealistic expectations.
“This season’s been a bit of a struggle again. If that’s where the bar is now, it’s nearly impossible to even come close to that, let alone exceed it,” Shiffrin is quoted as saying by Sports Illustrated.
Through telling her surreal experience of being at last summer’s ESPYs and not feeling like she belonged in such star-studded company — she knew she wasn’t going to win Best Female Athlete and didn’t bother writing a speech and apparently her hands were shaking when she met the NBA’s James — Bishop writes about the constant struggle in Shiffrin’s life between being a normal person and the fame that is a part of her life, whether she wants it or not.
The issue should be on newsstands soon.
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Keegan Swirbul was set to carry on with his nomadic career this summer with Ljubljana Gusto Santic, a professional cycling team based out of Slovenia