“Failure is scary, but I’ve had a lot of fantastic experiences,” Mikaela Shiffrin said.
Mikaela Shiffrin Gets Confidence back in Super-G
The difficulty of the situation is acknowledged by her. Catastrophic, in fact. It can’t be easy for Mikaela Shiffrin to swallow the bitter pill of defeat under the brightest lights, what with her three overall World Cup titles, two Olympic gold medals, and more victories on alpine skiing’s top flight than all but two people in history. Also, it shouldn’t.
The 26-year-old American’s smile, which had been absent during the most trying week of her professional life, returned as she stood at the bottom of the women’s super-G course on Friday after finishing first in three races at the Beijing Olympics.
In other words, She didn’t get the Outcome she was Hoping for.
Shiffrin completed the course on the south side of Xiaohaituo Mountain in 1 minute, 14.6 seconds, 0.79 seconds behind the early leader and eventual gold medallist Lara Gut-Behrami, of Switzerland.
In the lowest week in a career marked by dizzying highs, though, the fact that he made it down the course and finished ninth overall was reason to feel good.
“Skiing that today felt great,” Shiffrin remarked. Lots of people have been let down in the last week. There is a wide range of feelings. It [wasn’t] simple to regroup and determine whether or not I was up to the challenge today.
The Track is Stunning, the sky is blue, and the Snow is Incredible.
I think that was the best decision I could have made to go back out and race again.
Shiffrin’s early disqualifications in the giant slalom on Monday and the slalom on Wednesday due to missing gates were shocking enough.
The Colorado native has only finished last in a race twice in the previous four years leading up to the Beijing Olympics, and only thirteen times in a total of 228 starts across all disciplines at World Cup, Olympic, and world championship events.
The devastating blows to her self-assurance were heightened by the fact that they occurred in two of her greatest events — the disciplines upon which her dominance and unwavering consistency were built.
Since she was 16 years old in December 2011, Shiffrin has never again finished last in two consecutive technical events.
Only Competing Twice in the Past two Months on the World Cup Circuit,
She finished tenth in the speed race on Friday (where she is once again the overall points leader). She skipped the super-G at the first two Olympics she competed in, but after winning it at the 2019 world championships, she is now a serious medal candidate.
Before Shiffrin’s first two races, she was hoping to compete in as many as six events at these Olympics. However, she was unable to complete more than 12 gates in either race.
Shiffrin went through three training runs on Thursday before concluding she felt good enough to race despite her crippling self-doubt and “emotional weariness” following her nightmare start.
You can’t have that racing, certainly not racing pace,” Shiffrin said, describing how she was feeling. But when we went out today, I felt a little more peaceful, quiet, and focused on the task at hand. This allowed me to direct my concentration where I needed it and ski the hill and course the way I wanted to.
It’s great to be at the Finish after a good run of Skiing.
It’s good for my psyche to know that I didn’t completely give up everything I knew about skiing, even though I wasn’t exactly skiing safely, and it did feel good to cross the finish line.
Olympians who are walking through the mixed zone after an event are not required to stop and talk to the media. Shiffrin, though, has spent countless hours answering questions since both of her DNFs and again on Friday.
She offered long, deep, and deliberate comments that showed her struggling with a crisis of confidence, which is even more impressive given that she could have easily resorted to the prepared soundbites that are well within the boundaries of her years of media training.
On the one hand, Shiffrin’s Competence as a Professional is Expected.
She has always been willing to take on the mantle of leadership that comes with serving as a sport’s face, and now she will do it for a second consecutive Winter Olympics, the most prominent Olympic event in the United States.